In an open letter to the Prime Minister, fashion industry representatives and executives, including models Twiggy and Yasmin Le Bon, said Brexit is stifling the complex international supply chains and relationships on which their industry is built.
Ms. Le Bon said the ability to travel freely around the EU for work was “critical” to an industry where models could be assigned to a shoot within hours.
“The richness of this creative industry lies in our ability to move and change quickly. This time we need to be heard and the government needs to work with us before it’s too late.”
Isabel Ettedgui, executive director of Savile Row fashion brand Connolly, known for selling Scottish cashmere and leather goods made in Spain, said the financial impact of Brexit could be existential.
“The result could be the possible closure of a 185-year-old company that holds the Royal Warrant,” she said.
More than 400 signatories joined the call for “urgent action” from the government to protect an industry that is highly fragmented but which, according to research by Oxford Economics for the British Fashion Council, was estimated to be 1.6% of the UK’s gross domestic product last year.
The cabinet office said it was working closely with companies in the fashion industry to adapt to the new retail environment and was aware that some companies were facing challenges.
“We operate export helplines, conduct webinars with policy experts and provide business support through our network of 300 international trade advisors,” said a spokesman. “This is on top of the millions we have invested in expanding the customs brokerage sector.”