Open Letter to Greg Clark, Business Secretary from Fashionizer
Will Creative Industries Benefit from a Nissan-style Deal?
Dear Mr Clark,
Fashionizer, as a luxury uniform designer, is very firmly in the creative industry sector, so we were delighted to hear you say “The creative industry is very important,” on Andrew Marr’s show at the weekend.
The context of your comments were around the car industry and the assurances you have made to Nissan and the Sunderland factory. On the face of it, cars and uniforms might not have a lot in common, but since you’ll be looking across the board at UK industries, we’re drawing your attention to the fact that creative industries with a manufactured end product trade in a very similar way.
So when you say, “For the continental European car manufacturers, they export a lot to us, we export a lot to them, components go backwards and forwards,” it has resonance for us.
Here’s how a typical contract works for Fashionizer: Uniforms are designed in the UK, fabric may be sourced in France or Portugal, trimmings, sourced in Italy or Germany, and delivered to a manufacturer in Bulgaria, supplied to a client anywhere from Ireland to the Middle East. In other words, components going backwards and forwards, with the final destination of the finished product being either inside or outside the EU.
But we differ significantly from the car industry in other ways. Sure, there are many retail giants in the fashion business – but a massive majority of creative businesses operate with a small number of staff, using innovative British design to produce high quality goods. It is a mosaic business, with a plethora of small- to medium-sized companies driving a lot of trade, in the UK, the rest of Europe and worldwide. Lots of small companies creating big business*:
- Creative industries are growing faster than the UK average,
- Total employment in creative industries 2.8 million jobs
- Represents 8.2 per cent of the UK economy
- Is worth £133.3 billion
Given the clear value of creative industries, of which fashion is part, our voices need to be heard. Our question is this: How do you plan to safeguard businesses such as ours? Can we, as a UK business and as an industry, hope to receive the same levels of support as Nissan?
We would welcome the opportunity to discuss the post-Brexit challenge of SMEs within the creative industries and look forward to hearing your feedback.
*Source: gov.uk publications