How to buy a suit without the britches
Buyers beware, according to the British fashion industry, which has warned of a “death spiral” of cheaper suits on the horizon as retailers struggle to find customers in the wake of the Brexit vote.
The British Fashion Council warned on Tuesday that as the cost of clothing and accessories dropped, many consumers would be left with a “britches-free wardrobe” as prices rise, leaving consumers with no choice but to resort to cheaper options.
The council said in a statement that the cost to buy an item was “currently rising at a rate of 1.6% a year”, but said that “in the short-term” that “would be the case”.
“However, the true extent of this inflationary trend is not yet known, with the impact of Brexit on the fashion industry not yet fully fully understood,” it added.
“We will continue to watch this trend closely and will update our forecasts accordingly if the trend changes.”
The UK fashion industry is reeling from the Brexit result, with retailers facing a crisis of supply and demand and a shortage of garments and accessories that consumers could be willing to spend hundreds of pounds on.
On Monday, British luxury retailer Forever 21 announced it was closing three stores in the UK because of Brexit, with a fourth planned for later this year.
It said that it was facing a “real and sustained supply shortage” as retailers in the country struggle to fill orders with the “quality of goods” they can sell to the public.
“It’s going to be a real crisis for us,” chief executive of Forever 21, Sarah Walshe, told the BBC.
“If we don’t have the quality that we want, it’s going not just to be in the clothes we sell, but in the fashion and the accessories we sell.”
Walshe said that while the UK was experiencing a “surge” in demand for its iconic clothing, she was not aware of any major retailers in this country that were considering closing stores.
The UK has experienced a significant rise in the number of people leaving the country for work in the past few years, with more than 1.2 million EU nationals claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance in March alone.
The trend was highlighted earlier this month by an article in The Guardian newspaper which said that the number working in Britain had reached its highest level in seven years.
“More than half a million Britons are now working outside the UK,” the report said.
“For many of these people, the decision to leave the country has been made for other reasons than the consequences of Brexit.”