A New Year's Message from Tamara Cincik
Back to school, back to work, on the juice diet, or off the wagon. This week is all about facing up to those resolutions and seeing whether we can keep them. For those of us in the UK on the same day of the looming deadline for our self-employed tax returns (which is the majority of us in the fashion industry) on 31 January, the UK will officially enter the transition period to leave the EU. This is over 3 years and 2 elections, since the Brexit Referendum back in June 2016.
Being a history geek, I think of Brexit in terms of the Dissolution of the Monasteries (when Henry viii broke with Rome in 1536) changing the religion of the country from Catholic to Protestant so he could marry Anne Boleyn (disclaimer: she is my personal muse) and place himself as Head of the Church of England. It is that epic. Or the English Civil War, where after 7 years of a war which saw brother fighting against brother across the UK, Charles I was executed on the balcony of the Whitehall Banqueting Hall in 1649. I view Brexit through this lens, as I have not seen a de-escalation in feeling: not one person I have asked seems to have changed their voting decisions and the consequences of this will be felt for years to come. Diplomacy will now be shaped by trade deals and as the US currently has a trade war with China, with them looking to sign Phase 1 of a bilateral trade deal on 15 January, I wonder how this will impact upon the UK’s future: one where it is no longer a part of the largest global trading bloc. It won’t be over and just go away in a Bobby from “Dallas” dream scene.
One issue from Brexit I have been focusing on is freedom of movement. Whatever the final deal looks like in December, having a UK blue passport won’t allow for the freedoms of the EU 27 maroon one. Speaking to civil servants, working out of Whitehall, I have made very clear the concerns facing fashion and our needs to ensure the industry will remain in the UK and, indeed, continue to flourish.
1) For EU workers working in fashion manufacturing (which was the focus of our policy paper last month and something we have been back and forth with governmental departments on again this week), we are worried they are not on the Shortage Occupation Visa List. This is despite evidence from us that UK manufacturing is at capacity already, and cannot grow sustainably if we do not enable EU workers to be added to this list.
2) For UK and EU creatives who need to maintain their ease to markets and reputations across competitive international audiences. I have explained to civil servants that much of that work is agile: last minute bookings, deals sometimes negotiated on Instagram DMs, rather than formal contracts and while many need to travel to make their earnings and build their reputations, they pay their taxes in the UK. So if the UK is to remain attractive to business, then ease to markets and constant freedom of movement for goods (clothes) and services (people) is paramount.
If you are concerned about Brexit and how this will affect your business, we offer bespoke corporate workshops and consultancy. Please email email@example.com and the FR team can talk you through how we can help. Because ignorance isn’t bliss.
We have two exciting events lined up over the next few weeks: which I feel go to the heart of our Front Row To Front Bench message. Our Power of Influence Q&A and workshop, just got really exciting with Anne-Marie Curtis, former Editor in Chief and Fashion Director of ELLE UK as part of an intimate Q&A with Baroness Lola Young of Hornsey, the key voice in the House of Lords pushing on social justice and ethics across fashion, sport and industry.
This will then be followed by 2 workshops discussing our relationship with influence and power through the lens of social media, social justice, democracy, empowerment and sustainability, led by the incredible Clare Press (our Global Sustainability Expert and presenter of the Wardrobe Crisis podcasts) and Navjyot Lehl (our Politics Expert). I feel very lucky to have these incredible women in my team at Fashion Roundtable.
Then in time for Valentine’s Day, London Fashion Week and to launch our membership, we have our LOVE IS LOVE event with singer-songwriter and pop legend Sophie Ellis-Bextor (who I have styled for almost a decade), alongside Jamie Windust, and others for a Q&A discussing all things love and inclusion. With makeovers led by celebrity make up artist Elena Diaz, craft workshops led by the incredibly talented Royal Needlework School using the King of Sequins Ashish‘s archive, and jewellery and headdress workshops it promises to be a safe space, filled with intelligent, inclusive, sparkling conversation and craft.
And lastly, I wanted to share the most up to date way I have found to help the incredible work the Australian fire service are doing in the face of the bushfires across Australia. From the research I have done, it seems this is the best link to donate.