The UK Fashion & Textiles Association has assured British fashion brands that it will continue to strive to secure “the best possible outcome for our sector.”
While describing the triggering of Article 50 yesterday as a significant milestone, the organisation revealed that it has already been actively engaging with the Government and the International Trade Select Committee to ensure that the needs of the fashion sector are taken into account.
“The UKFT’s aim is to help fashion and textiles businesses to navigate the rapidly evolving environment surrounding Brexit, enabling them to respond to the issues that are pertinent to their continued business success,” says the UKFT’s chairman Nigel Lugg.
The organisation has now committed to;
• Pushing the industries’ key requirements around talent, trade, regulation IP protection and access to funding.
• Lobbying the Government for support to help the industry seize the opportunities that leaving the EU may bring, including significantly increased funding for exports, more support for skills and training and meaningful support for UK manufacturing.
• Working to secure the status of EU citizens working in the UK as soon as possible.
• Demonstrating how an industrial strategy will help increase growth.
Some brands have however started to take action themselves, pre-empting the impact that Brexit will have on their businesses. Footwear label and Moda exhibitor Chatham has established a global presence, not least bolstered by the success of its Made in Britain collection. The brand has already planned a strategy to minimise the impact of the changes on its retailers and consumers.
“The decision to leave the European Union had its ups and downs for all businesses,” says MD Philip Marsh. For Chatham, the majority of our product materials are bought in USD and therefore the weakening of the GBP has meant that realistically, prices should be increased by around 20 per cent. “However in my opinion the market cannot take this kind of price rise, so a smaller price and reducing our company’s margin is the way forward.
However, our relationships with non-EU Countries has seen an increase due to the devaluation of the GBP, which has resulted in growth of our export sales. With new markets such as Singapore, America, Japan and China all showing interest in our brand, and we only see this increasing over the coming months. Of particular interest is our Made in Britain collection – launched last year – which has been incredibly received around the world, especially in these non-EU countries and we predict this will continue, even now the UK has triggered Article 50.”