THEY’RE IN: British fashion designers want to remain a part of the European Union, according to an e-survey by the British Fashion Council.
The BFC asked U.K. designer businesses their preference ahead of the European Union referendum, or Brexit vote, on June 23. The body said nearly 500 designers opened the e-survey with 290 responding.
Some 90 percent of those who responded stated their preference to remain, while 4.3 percent voted to leave. Meanwhile, 2.4 percent were undecided and 2.8 percent said that they would not vote.
During the four-day showcase London Collections: Men, which wrapped on Monday, designers from labels including Christopher Raeburn, Daniel W. Fletcher, E. Tautz, Lou Dalton and Sibling showed their support for the Remain campaign.
The BFC said the results echo the response from the Creative Industries Federation Survey, with more than 96 percent of respondents supporting the move to remain, with barely 4 percent in favor of leaving the EU.
During the Scottish referendum in 2014, when citizens were asked to vote on whether to remain in the U.K., the BFC voiced its opinion that Scotland should remain, arguing that fees for Scottish fashion students studying in London would rise and British talents and businesses need to promote themselves as one.
Earlier this month, the BFC told WWD it is not planning to make a similar statement because the board feels “it’s such a complex issue with multiple aspects. One opinion might not represent all of our stakeholders.”
In Britain, the debate has cut across socio-economic, class, gender, regional, political — and even family lines — and has dominated headlines since the referendum was announced the summer. The debate has divided the Conservative Party and seen the Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron campaigning to remain in Europe alongside his rival, the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Much of the business community is in favor of remaining within the EU, as nearly half of all British exports are destined for Europe. They also argue that Britain would be more secure, and that Britons are part of the fabric of Europe. Those in favor of leaving argue that Europe’s bureaucrats have become too powerful, that Britain has lost control over immigration flows, and that U.K. courts are increasingly dominated by EU law.
Figures in the world of fashion and retail have already voiced their opposition to Britain’s exit from the European Union ahead of the vote. Christopher Bailey, chief creative and chief executive officer of Burberry, was among 198 chiefs of British companies who pledged to support the campaign in favor of Britain remaining. They expressed their views in a letter published in The Times of London in February.
During London Collections: Men, the four-day showcase that wrapped up on Monday, designers took the opportunity to express their views on Brexit.
Patrick Grant of E. Tautz and Sibling’s Cozette McCreery and Sid Bryan all took their bows in T-shirts blaring their pro-Europe stance in huge capital letters: IN. Daniel W. Fletcher staged a flash protest outside the official show venue, 180 Strand, rounding up friends, family and models who held signs and blankets with slogans such as “Stay” and “Better Together.”