BDB Network – Your Business in the World

Fashion in UK after Brexit and the Covid-19

30 July 2021
BDB Network

The purpose of this article is to provide an analysis of the UK market and the respective trends following the two events that particularly affected the UK economy, namely Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic.

In this article we will explore what is the damage that has happened since Great Britain left the European Union and how this decision has affected international trade, especially the management of the fashion industry.

The general picture that occurred with the advent of Brexit is the following: the fashion sector was faced with a commercial closure that translates into high bureaucracy, higher costs and duties for products not of EU and UK.

The European Union has always been the main partner of the United Kingdom. This last, in 2019, occupied the fourth place of Italian import market for the fashion and accessories sector. The UK textile industry exports up to £ 3 billion of textiles worldwide. This type of industry is also known for high-quality fabrics and accessories belonging to the interior as well as the clothing industry. 

It’s clear that Brexit has led to a number of problems. 

In this regard, an article in the Financial Times entitled “British brands will die” has been published. This is because many of the British productions are made of components from the European continent, for example in the UK there is no zip production and no one makes jeans buttons.

Several studies have been carried out on this subject and it has been found that the increase in raw material costs has led to higher retail prices, domestic demand has decreased and delivery times have become unpredictable. 

Companies have shown some fear as they are not prepared for this radical change because of the lack of financial resources.
Trade with the EU is therefore difficult and extremely complex.

To combat this negative development, the support of the British Government appears to be of vital importance to the sector. It will be necessary to develop new skills and capabilities, adopt innovative equipment and machinery, so as to improve the quality and standards of products. 

It’s appropriate to know more about transport, that plays a fundamental role when talking about trading.

As mentioned above, Brexit has made international transport more complicated due to the documentation and bureaucratic issues, new export and import processes and new tax rules.

All these incoming rules have affected the time taken to adapt to the new flows of entry and exit of European and British customs.

Let’s take a look how the delivery timing has evolved over the years:

  • Train – from 15 days in 2019 to 18 days in 2021
  • Truck – from 3 days in 2019 to 5 days in 2021

The increase in lead time has led to an increase in costs, especially for lorry transport, as there has been a huge difficulty in finding drivers willing to travel to the UK. 

Most drivers prefer to travel around Europe, the small part that are willing to travel to the UK requires extra payments 

In conclusion, we can say that the agreement reached with the European Union should guarantee the free movement of goods and services for creative sectors, such as luxury and fashion. 

Although, the problems do not only concern the goods but also people working in the industry, for example models, photographers and stylists must have a visa for each EU country they decide to visit. This creates delays, costs and much more time for preparations for every planned trip. 

British International trade needs a rapid and effective recovery in order to give the possibility to all the local businesses to survive, especially the fashion and textile sector.