The British Fashion Council (BFC) has released data from Oxford Economics that reinforces the stark reality of the impact of the global pandemic on the British fashion industry.
The COVID-19 recession could hit the fashion industry twice as hard compared to the UK overall, effectively wiping out the above-average growth achieved by the industry in the past ten years. The data shows that alongside the economic impact, an entire generation of creative talent is threatened to disappear, putting in danger the UK’s position as the creative crucible of global fashion.
In an industry that employs 890,000 people (2019), 240,000 direct job losses are predicted. If indirect jobs through the supply chain and consumer spending are included, these losses rise to 350,000 which equals 1% of all UK jobs The level of contribution to GDP is forecast to drop from £35billion (2019) to £26.2billion Revenues are predicted to drop from £118billion in 2019 to £88billion in 2020 (Oxford Economics, 2020).
Whilst the BFC welcomes the support measures implemented by the Government throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, research found that many fashion businesses have not been able to access the schemes.
Therefore, in order to ensure future employment, whilst re-setting the industry with a focus on clean growth and positive change on the planet and its people, the BFC is asking government to consider the future of the sector through a series of seven measures outlined below:
1.) Helping keep retail open, protecting our towns and cities from the impact of further retailer closures
2.) Funding for Small to Medium Size Enterprises (SMEs) that have been able to access existing government support packages
3.) Innovation and research & development funding for clean growth
4.) Responsible retailing to mitigate the crisis in inventory
5.) Access to finance and future proofing by exploring financial mechanisms that will de-risk businesses for the future, such as supply chain finance
6.) A moratorium on payment of duty and tariffs to support the restart of international supply chains and further support liquidity and cash flow in the industry
7.) Support for British Manufacturing & Local Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Read the BFC's recommendations in full here.
The move follows the BFC's launch of a COVID Crisis Support Fund which made £1m of emergency funds available to fashion businesses and individuals by pooling all the existing BFC talent support grants traditionally awarded for either early stage showcasing support or business growth and promotion.
The BFC has also launched a joint campaign with Bags of Ethics to support Great British Designer Face Coverings.
Designed in London by six British designers, Halpern, Julien Macdonald, Liam Hodges, Mulberry, RAEBURN and RIXO the project aims to raise £1 million with 100% of sale profits going to charity and split between NHS Charities Together COVID-19 Urgent Appeal, BFC Foundation Fashion Fund and Wings of Hope Children’s Charity.