London Fashion Week gets underway on Friday, launching spring/summer 2020 collections set to come out after Brexit, a divorce bitterly opposed by the UK fashion industry.
A survey by the Fashion Roundtable consultancy found 96 percent of British fashion sector professionals backed Britain staying in the European Union in the 2016 referendum, fearing customs bureaucracy and restrictions on the movement of workers. Attitudes have not softened in the years since.
The British Fashion Council (BFC), which promotes the industry and organizes the five-day London Fashion Week (LFW), is against a no-deal Brexit on October 31, something Prime Minister Boris Johnson says must happen if a new deal cannot be struck with Brussels.
If business between Britain and the EU were to come under World Trade Organization rules on November 1, it would cost the fashion industry £850-900 million, according to a 2018 study by the UK Fashion and Textile Association.
The British fashion industry contributes £32 billion to the British economy and employs nearly 900,000 people, claiming it was nearly as many workers as the financial sector. In September, it urged the government to strike a divorce deal with the EU “that would guarantee the healthy and steady growth of the fashion industry”.
Other headline shows include those of Spice Girls singer-turned-designer Victoria Beckham. Last year, the British star of the New York catwalks presented a collection in London for the first time to celebrate her label’s 10th anniversary.
This year, she is launching a beauty products range. British fashion heavyweight Burberry is set to be another highlight. The label is under the direction of chief creative officer Riccardo Tisci, formerly of Givenchy, who is known for celebrating diversity in his shows.
The BFC is trying to highlight industry best practices in sustainable development and ethics with a dedicated exhibition.