LONDON — Britain’s fashion industry has thus far kept quiet — at least publicly and apart from pro-independence Vivienne Westwood — on the subject of Scotland’s independence, which will be decided by the Scots in a referendum on Thursday. Over the past weeks, WWD polled a host of Scottish designers, brands with ties to the country, and textile firms — and the majority declined to be drawn on the issue.
But as decision day nears, both the British Fashion Council and British Vogue’s editor Alexandra Shulman are urging the U.K. fashion industry to support the “No” campaign for Scotland to remain part of Britain.
The BFC, which counts Britain’s first lady Samantha Cameron among its ambassadors, is supporting an independent petition titled “Let’s Stay Together.” On Tuesday, the organization told WWD that it supports “a strong United Kingdom. We have had great success in promoting British talents and British businesses,” the statement said. “It would be a real shame to exclude Scotland from that. As an industry, we are very proud of the heritage in textiles and the excellence in design colleges in Scotland.”
The BFC said its main concerns about an independent Scotland center on increased costs for Scottish students wishing to attend universities based in England, “due to the international fees” as well as “the possible difficulties in supporting manufacturers based in Scotland.”
Scottish designers rank among London Fashion Week’s best-known names, with Christopher Kane, Jonathan Saunders and Holly Fulton all hailing from the country. Shulman, meanwhile, sent an e-mail to press and industry figures on Tuesday, asking recipients who support a unified U.K. to sign the “Let’s Stay Together” petition. The independent petition boasts names from the creative industries such as Kane, Helena Bonham Carter, Jemima Khan, Stella Tennant and Graeme Black.