Fashion Industry: Brexit Analysis

The contribution of the fashion industry to the UK economy could drop by 36% in a hard Brexit.

Using its proprietary Brexit algorithm, Assay analysed the impact of a range of Brexit scenarios on the UK fashion industry. Buoyed by a strengthened pound and consumer sentiment, the industry could recover to contribute a further 25% in the softest scenario analysed. The potential negative impact of 36% is explained by the strength of the pound, the disruption caused by both tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade and the price and productivity impacts on labour forces driven by restrictions on the free-movement of people.

The fashion sector is incredibly diverse, with its gross value added encompassing the contributions of such sub-sectors as designer fashion, wholesale, manufacturing, advertising and publishing. These sub-sectors each face their own unique challenges that were analysed by the Assay Brexit algorithm to determine the aggregate sector impact.

Assay’s analysis was presented at numerous expert forums. Initially, at a Fashion Roundtable group which saw industry and prominent figures from the Department for International Trade come together to explore they key elements of lobbying the government for the best Brexit for the fashion industry. The work was also presented at the London College of Fashion’s event “How will Brexit have an Impact on the Fashion Industry?” alongside a panel of industry experts, political figures and fashion lawyers. Finally, the analysis took Assay to Portcullis House to discuss with MP’s some of the key impacts of Brexit and what might be done to mitigate the impacts to the creative industries.


Ultimately, the fashion industry, and creative industries more broadly, are dependent on the fluid circulation of products, ideas and people – a hard Brexit is a risk to the creative industries of Britain, Europe and the rest of the world. With the risk however, comes an opportunity – Brexit provides a chance for the creative industries to hold their inherited operating procedures accountable. By actively engaging with the key issues laid bare by data driven analytics, the creative industries can weather the Brexit storm and capitalise on new global business relationships.

To learn more about Assay’s Brexit product please attend one of our events, details for the next one can be found here.