London Fashion Week opens on Friday with shows by Burberry, J.W. Anderson and Topshop UNIQUE, with the industry putting on a brave face amid concerns over the impact of Brexit.
Many designers wanted to stay in the European Union, and there are fears about the impact of leaving on exports, costs and London’s ability to attract design talent.
The EU accounted for 70 percent of British textiles and apparel exports in 2014, worth o5.8 billion, according to the UK Fashion and Textile Association.
“London is a fashion, business, creative and cultural capital. It is a great place to live and work and is open for business,” said Caroline Rush, the chief executive of the British Fashion Council.
“We are seeing strong retail sales and consumer spending at home, our brands continue to perform well in export markets and London is still home to the best talent in the global fashion industry,” she said.
Retail sales suffered only a slight dip in August after a strong July, while analysts said the weaker pound since the referendum had boosted sales of luxury items by foreign tourists by making them cheaper.
But high street giant next is among those warning that prices may rise as the weak currency makes it more expensive to import goods from overseas suppliers.
Prime Minister Theresa May marked London Fashion Week with a reception on Thursday at 10 Downing Street, where she played down the notion that Brexit would be bad for the industry.
“From our home grown start-ups to international fashion houses — every business in the industry will play a major role in ensuring we make a success of Brexit.
“By taking advantage of the opportunities that leaving the EU gives us and playing to our strengths as a great trading nation – we can build a build a fairer economy that works for all, not just the privileged few,” she said.