Savile Row hit hard by US tariff increase
By Don-Alvin Adegeest
Oct. 10, 2019
35 milion pounds of fashion and textile exports from the UK will be subject to new tariffs next week. To put this in perspective, figures form the UK Fashion and Textile Association (UKFT) show approximately 23 percent of exports from British luxury brands in 2017 were shipped to America.
The 25 percent tariffs come at a time when a no deal Brexit means British fashion companies could be further hit by export costs. The figures will put a damper on UK exports and manufacturing, which according to the British Fashion Council could cost the fashion industry 1 billion pounds in revenue per year.
Adam Mansell, CEO of UKFT, said in a statement: “These new measures will affect 35 million pounds of exports and companies will be facing an extra £8.8m in tariffs, which will hit a number of companies extremely hard. The UK is the only country facing tariffs on our fashion and textile exports so if these tariffs do come in our companies will be at a massive disadvantage to our European competitors.
“We will be urging our government to underwrite the cost of these tariffs that are the result of a dispute that has nothing to do with our industry.”
Unfair: French and Italian tailors not subject to new tariffs
Savile Row and UK tailors who expert their wares will be particularly hit with the 25 percent tariffs on suiting and cashmere sweaters. Many UK tailors feel they have been unfairly targeted as both French and Italian suit makers and wool and cashmere exporters are not subject to an increase in tariffs.
“The UK is the only country facing tariffs on our fashion and textile exports so if these tariffs do come in, our companies will be at a massive disadvantage to our European competitors,” Mr Mansell told Vogue Business.
In 2004 The Savile Row Bespoke Association was formed through an alliance of five like-minded houses – Anderson & Sheppard, Dege & Skinner, Gieves & Hawkes, H. Huntsman & Sons and Henry Poole & Co. – tailors which understood the need for a trade association capable of safeguarding Savile Row’s unique bespoke standards. Today, the SRBA has twenty-two member and associate member houses, who work together to protect and champion this understanding of bespoke tailoring and to promote the craftsmen that comprise the community of Savile Row.
Many Savile Row tailors have strong businesses overseas: “We’re better known in New York than we are in Newcastle, so we’ve always had a very strong American presence,” Sean Dixon, co-founder of Savile Row tailor Richard James told Vogue Business. At Henry Poole, international clients account for 70 percent of their business, with the USA being its biggest market in 2017.
Photo credit: Savile Row, Facebook