Fashion Speaks Out On Immigration
High street brand Jigsaw recently shed light on the issue as it declared “♥ immigration” across its shop windows and billboards. In its accompanying manifesto the retailer stated: “Without immigration, we’d be selling potato sacks, fear, isolation, and intolerance will hold us back”.
Indeed this is true. Anyone that works in fashion understands what a global melting pot the industry is. From designers to production workers the industry relies on flexible immigration to ensure industry growth. Take our very own sister company Fashion Enter and its Factory based in Haringey, North London which employs over 100 people, 75% of which are migrant workers, all of which are highly skilled and keen to work.
(Image right: Prabal Gurung makes his statement on the catwalk A/W 17/18)
The London mayor, Sadiq Khan, publicly applauded the Jigsaw campaign via social media. He said: “We couldn’t agree more that people need to see the debt that we owe to immigration.”
However, the negative wave currently sweeping international politics and the public at large is having a detrimental effect, with individuals feeling “not welcome” and marginalized. In protest many in fashion are taking a stance with sloganed t-shirts, social media statements and the use of video diaries where a line up of designers stated: “I am an immigrant.”
Here in the UK the fashion industry is currently trying to navigate Brexit and has already seen a hike in material costs from overseas as a result, a drop in skilled immigrant workers would add further strain to a sector that is already feeling the pressure.
(Fashion Enter Factory in North London, these workers made your clothes 75% of which are migrant workers)
CEO of FashionCapital and Fashion Enter, Jenny Holloway comments:
“I feel as though our world is fragmenting into shards of broken glass. With Donald Trump’s refugee travel ban, snap electoral decisions in Austria based on immigration levels and a generic rise in global racism and xenophobia have we forgotten that we are human beings? Homosapiens, which is Latin for wise man?
What is wise about undermining immigrants from any country that have brought skills into the UK? These highly talented people have helped to make garment manufacturing in the UK a major growth industry – one to potentially receive Sector Support in London, Manchester and Leicester by May.
Jigsaw have seen 20% uplift in garment costs with near shoring so bring the production to the UK! Buy less but more often – aim to sell out not discount. We have never needed our skilled migrant workforce as much as now. Time to celebrate our diversity.”
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