Sunday, June 26, 2016

UK's Decision to Leave The European Union Will Affect The Fashion Industry


On Thursday June 23, the UK voted to leave the European Union and the decision will affect the fashion industry in a big way.  Several brands and stores in the UK existed as a result of the free trade negotiations established by the Union. Not only will British consumers be affected but international consumers as well  because the Pound has lost value cost to produce, distribute, sell and trade will increase especially in online transactions.   The UK is the second largest market in Europe for the fashion industry, behind Germany.  

The UK's membership in the European Union allowed companies in four countries England, Scotland, Wales and North Ireland to enjoy advantages and facilities to sell and buy globally in more than 70 countries including the United States, China and Japan.  Within these four countries major fashion hub cities such as London, Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester, Belfast, Oxford, Cambridge, Swansea produced multi trillions of dollars in business.   The British fashion industry generates about 40,000 million dollars a year in the US economy.  UK is the fifth largest consumer of Spanish fashion, behind France, Italy, Portugal and Germany. Britain imported Spanish fashion products totaling 1,246.3 million euros in 2015, that's 9.8 percent more than the previous year. Companies like Inditex and Mango currently operate over 160 stores in the UK. Brands that fall under the Inditex umbrella include Zara, Zara Home, Pull & Bear, Massimo Duitt, Bershka, Stradivarius, Oysho and Uterque all recognized brands in the industry.

Inforgraphic taken from
Inditex is a Spanish fast-fashion giant with a market value of nearly a 104 dollars it's the second largest fashion company worldwide, Nike is number one. Inditex’ 2015 annual revenue was around 24 billion dollars. With stores is every major city worldwide, the company has the ability to reach lots of fans. These brands will be hit hard by the decision to leave. Designers such as  JW Anderson, Vivienne Westwood and Christopher Kane  were all for remaining in the Union in an effort to protect their brands, but now realize the impact the decision will have on their business.  In fact, the British Fashion Council submitted the names of 1,300 business leaders who signed a letter urging the British to vote in favor of the referendum.  Fast-fashion retailer Next Plc is the largest fashion company in the United Kingdom with a market value of 8.15 billion pounds.  Retail giant Marks & Spencer is number 2, the Arcadia Group parent company of Topshop is the third largest UK Fashion company and  iconic fashion brand Burberry is the UK’s 4th largest company.
                                                            Photo Credit: Taken from Pinterest
There is definitely uncertainty in the fashion industry as a result of Brexit.  Many of these brands enjoy global success by creating disadvantaged competitive markets making it impossible for other smaller brands to compete.  Maybe now other brands will have a fighting chance.  Could it be that the face of fast fashion as we know it is about the change as CATA predicted?  We'll be watching this one.

There are thousands of small fashion brands producing better quality garments, using safer raw materials, practicing more ethical ways of doing business, paying fair living wages, developing talent and inspiring positive change in the way we manufacture, sell, wear and discard our clothes.  "No giant is too big that it 
can't/won't fall someday!"

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