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No deal Brexit could spell disaster for British fashion industry

By Don-Alvin Adegeest


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It was to be the plans of all plans, with Prime Minister Theresa May to lay out the withdrawal agreement for the UK to leave the EU. The terms of which spelled out the future relationship for both citizens and companies whose close ties to the continent remain under threat.

But while in a matter of weeks Britain is due to leave the EU, the country remains as divided today as on the day of the referendum.

The historic defeat of May's plans in the House of Commons was the largest rejection in the UK's history, with the government spending two years negotiating a deal that now is back at square one.

What does the future hold for the UK's fashion industry?

If a hard Brexit were to be put in place it means all existing trade deals disappear. This would force retailers, manufacturers and designers to have to pay to trade with the EU, thus tariffs would be added to clothing and footwear, which is thought to be approximately 11 per cent.

In a soft Brexit, free trade would exist between EU countries, but it is not known what strings will be attached as European countries would want to ensure their citizens can operate freely in the UK and that their exports remain untaxed.

Whatever happens, it is likely that cost of clothing will increase as the UK is heavily depended on importing raw materials to make clothing, and on exporting its goods to the EU and the rest of the world.

According to the Evening Standard: "The UK imports almost 10 billion pounds worth of clothes and shoes from Europe each year; more than 10,000 European staff work in the British fashion industry. It has become a microcosm of UK Plc’s struggle to deal with the referendum result."

What is next?

A vote of no confidence on Wednesday lets MPs decide on whether they want the government to continue. The motion must be worded: "That this House has no confidence in Her Majesty's Government."

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