What to Do Now The EU is Through – Brexit Fallout
In the world of politics, economics, globalization, trade and other matters of importance, menswear ranks lowly amongst topics in which the relatively short decisions of a few can create a long lasting ripple effect in the hearts, minds, and wallets of many in a nation. As “Brexit”, the British vote to exit the European Union was confirmed back in June, in what seems like a bitter divorce; jobs, wealth–or the lack thereof–the possibility of creating a future for a younger generation, and happiness in general are the major concern for many.
Some may consider this retribution for Britain’s long history of invading other countries around the world (at least 200 at last count). Others see it as a new beginning where Britain can make it’s own mark on the world without relying on the rest of Europe. As an outsider (read: any average American) watching from afar, you may wonder what those tea swilling, Emily Post wanna be, wrong-side-of-the-road driving snobs who spend too much time fussing over their suits are doing and why you should care. Or as an interested global citizen you may think of a nation that is undergoing a serious change that while immediately may not have a direct correlation to daily life, may soon cause rifts closer to home than initially thought.
No one knows how deep or how far reaching–look out ‘Merica–the new way of British living may go. While we watch and wait some of those jobs affected and wallets tightened may very well be in the menswear industry. While one man’s woes are another man’s joy, anyone from penny pinchers to spendthrifts may find the current market attractive for their next acquisition. Literally overnight the British pound dropped double digits (at least 10%) and therefore has become weaker against the dollar. What does this mean for the interested buyer? Suits and apparel in general will be cheaper to buy for foreigners. What does this mean for both British high street retailers and bespoke tailors alike? Volume will be depleted since buyers can get more for less money. Shelves, windows, and aisles will need to be replenished faster which in turn means labor forces both mechanical and human will need to work faster, longer, and harder to turn around more product in less time.
This may indeed lead to less oversight in craftsmanship and/or a turndown in employee satisfaction which, if the impending job cuts weren’t enough, the stress of having more work and less time can lead to a host of physical and psychological issues. Manufacturers in general will have to buy more goods and materials in a shorter time and most likely outside their regular buying schedule in order to keep up with the demand which will put a squeeze on the country’s human and natural resources creating the need for more government oversight.
The list of potential pitfalls goes on and on. However, as American investor Mr. Warren Buffett has preached for years, “When there’s blood in the streets…buy.” For tailors like Steed specifically, this creates a perfect storm of potential business from both the retail and export business overseas which make up roughly 85% of their revenue. Steed reported a record number of orders in 24 hours from new and existing customers following the news. A bittersweet victory indeed.
While the currency fluctuations may hit hard at home, the economic devaluation may prove fruitful in the long run from outside buyers looking to create or catapult their business with Steed which in turn may offset the cost of living and doing business at home in Britain. The best part of it all is, for interested menswear buyers, one of those ‘fussy’ British suits may cost you over $200 less than Pre-Brexit. Maybe that’s not enough to get you off the couch for one of Steed’s annual multiple US city tours but for those of us heavily invested in their wardrobe, it certainly is a time for joy.