How 'Brexit' would impact the fashion industry... // 20.06.16 - Georgina Barkworth

How 'Brexit' would impact the fashion industry... // 20.06.16

Controversial issues always arise in the fashion industry. Vogue Italia’s cover featuring plus sized models, Hamnett's "choose life" T-shirts and Lagerfeld's feminist protest on the runway for Chanel are all well known controversies of the industry. Brexit. That's the next one. 

Should we? Shouldn't we? Our government is uncertain, so how are we expected to make a decision? A crucial decision to our future. However my stance soon came clear after understanding the consequences on the fashion industry if we leave. It's easy to be ignorant and detached from politics due to the worrying possibilities. Yet, there's a reason why designers like Vivienne Westwood are vocalising their views along with artists like Wolfgang Tillmans. We should be wearing our politics on our sleeve like Daniel W. Fletcher.

Brexit WILL impact the fashion industry severely. There's no way around it. With 90% of British designers voting to stay in the EU, there must be something making the mass believe we need to stay. What is it then? 

Essentially, it can be broken down to three main reasons: funding, clothes and travelling.

As a consequence of the EU referendum the value of the pound dropped by 20% recently, an all time low in the past 7 years and will continue to fall if we leave. As the sourcing of fabric comes from Europe and the fabric manufacture taking place there, Brexit would impact this. It would become more expensive to do this due to the end of free trade, which would consequently allow the rise in prices to cascade through the production and end up more expensive for the consumer. Us. Why would we allow this to happen when it can be prevented? 

With University right round the corner, I endlessly have the worry of rising tuition fees on my mind. I’m considering university abroad possibly at IFA Paris. However the possibility of this will become even narrower (its already hard enough to go to) if we vote Brexit. Currently, we are protected by the EU so it costs no extra but that will all change, causing a lot less fluidity in the industry. If we leave the EU we would lose funding from the European Regional Development Fund who contribute millions to the British fashion industry, an organisation who recently put over £5 million pounds into London Fashion Week, without this funding what would we do? Not only that, but the ERDF also plough money and effort into one of Britain’s top fashion colleges, London College of Fashion to help support students to maintain the successful British fashion industry as we know it. Without this link to Europe and the funding it provides we will be average. Are you consciously wanting and willing to vote a Brexit that will let Britain become average?

The impact of a Brexit decision would only further change European travel, as it would be necessary to apply for a Visa. The whole industry revolves around quick travel around Europe, whether it’s Fashion Week, designers working on different brands, journalists reporting, models shooting in different locations, travel is essential. Imagine the industry with restricted movement? Impossible.

As an oversight, leaving the EU would cause clothes prices to rise, less opportunities and jobs, less funding into fashion schools, restricted movement and a complete drain on our values and culture.

“Maybe it’s about time we all take a stance.” – Christopher Kane



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