The Brexit vote has fashion designers, including some Chinese designers based in Britain, worried about the future of the sector. The designers are established brands, with many employees, and exporting to Europe, China and America. However, their greatest fear is of the UK leaving the European Single Market, the tariff-free marketplace. Seventy per cent of UK fashion sales go to Europe, with the balance to China, America and the Middle East, so access to Europe is important for their businesses.
Some Chinese designers produce in China, so the fall in the value of the sterling might raise costs a bit. Sourcing fabrics in Europe has become more expensive for them. Nevertheless the cheap pound has meant the UK has seen a bounce in sales in luxury and retail businesses since the vote, which is benefitting fashion.
Organisers of fashion weeks have been reassuring designers that the vote to leave the EU doesn’t mean an end to international partnerships and collaborations. They want to keep attracting talent and drive home the message that the UK is open to outsiders and is a place of business opportunity. London is a major hub of international designers.