SHARE
COPY LINK

FASHION

Italy’s Armani tells trendsetter Britain to stay in EU

Giorgio Armani has urged Britain to stay in the European Union, warning that the bloc would be worse off without England's influence on fashion and design.

Italy's Armani tells trendsetter Britain to stay in EU
Italian fashion icon Giorgio Armani has said he hopes Britain remains in the EU. Photo: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP

“I'm in favour of the British staying in Europe,” the legendary Italian designer said in Milan, where a week of menswear shows wrapped up on Tuesday with the unveiling of Armani's main Spring-Summer 2017 collection.

“The island is part of Europe and I have always seen England as the avant garde part of Europe – the bit that moves, that develops, always the first to do something eccentric and to give space for art.”
   
Britain is a relatively minor player in Europe's fashion industry in terms of manufacturing and global sales.
   
But the country's vibrant music and street fashion scenes have helped to make it disproportionately influential on catwalk trends.
   
British designers are dotted around the top fashion houses on the continent and London fashion schools attract talent from all over the world.
   
A recent survey of UK-based designers by the British Fashion Council found that 90 percent wanted the country to stay in the EU, mainly because of concerns that Brexit would make it harder to export their wares and that international student numbers could fall due to tighter visa restrictions.
   
Vivienne Westwood, one of the innovative designers Armani perhaps had in mind, said it would be “absolutely tragic” if Britain were to leave the EU.
   
“I am disgusted that we might leave,” said the 75-year-old, who made her name by putting punk style on the catwalk. “I'm ashamed of what is going on in England. It is awful.”
   
“We fought two world wars to have cooperation and unity and now it is like every man for himself,” added Westwood.
   
“And somehow the English have been manipulated into thinking they'll get more money if they leave and of course they won't because the whole world is bankrupt and everything is getting worse and worse.”

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

BREXIT

Brexit: Brits in EU feel European and don’t want to return home

The majority of Britons who live in the EU, Norway, Iceland or Switzerland and are protected under the Brexit agreement feel European and intend to remain in Europe permanently, but many have concerns about travel problems, a new survey reveals.

Brexit: Brits in EU feel European and don't want to return home

The research also shows that problems exist and “travel is where most issues relating to the new status currently occur”. For instance, border officials are still stamping passports of UK citizens with residence rights under the EU UK withdrawal agreement, even though they shouldn’t.

“There is constant confusion around passport stamping. I was ‘stamped in’ to France on a short trip… but could not find anyway to be ‘stamped out’ again. I think I can only spend 90 days in other EU countries, but have no idea how anyone can check or enforce that – until someone decides to try. It’s a mess,” was one of the answers left in an open question.

“Every time I go through a Schengen border control, I need to provide both my passport and Aufenthaltstitel card [resident permit in Germany] and watch to check that they don’t stamp my passport. As I am currently travelling a lot that’s been 20-odd times this year…” another respondent said.

The survey was carried out by Professor Tanja Bueltmann, historian of migration and diaspora at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, between October and November 2022. About 1,139 UK citizens replied.

Of these, 80 per cent found acquiring their new status easy or very easy, 60.7 per cent feel their rights are secure, while 39.3 per cent have concerns about their status going forward.

Staying permanently

More than three quarters (76.6 per cent) of respondents said they plan to live permanently in the EU or the other countries of the European Economic Area and Switzerland. In fact, 65.7 per cent said that Brexit has increased the likelihood of this choice.

For some, the decision is linked to the difficulty to bring non-British family members to the UK under new, stricter immigration rules.

“My German wife and I decided we no longer wanted to live in UK post Brexit referendum. In particular, we were affected by the impact of immigration law […] We cannot now return to UK on retirement as I cannot sponsor her on my pension. We knew it was a one-way journey. Fortunately, I could revive an application for German citizenship,” was a testimony.

“My husband is a US citizen and getting him a visa for the UK was near impossible due to my low income as a freelance journalist. We realized under EU law, moving to an EU country was easier. We settled on Austria as we had both lived there before… we could speak some German, and we like the mountains,” said another respondent.

Professor Bueltmann noted that the loss of free movement rights in the EU could be a factor too in the decision of many to stay where they are.

Citizenship and representation

Among those who decided to stay, 38.2 per cent are either applying or planning to apply for a citizenship and 28.6 per cent are thinking about it.

A key finding of the research, Bueltmann said, is that the vast majority of British citizens do not feel politically represented. Some 60 per cent of respondents said they feel unrepresented and another 30 per cent not well represented.

Another issue is that less than half (47.5 per cent) trust the government of their country of residence, while a larger proportion (62 per cent) trust the European Union. Almost all (95.6 per cent) said they do not trust the UK government.

Feeling European

The survey highlights the Brexit impacts on people’s identity too. 82.6 per cent of respondents said they see themselves as European, a higher proportion than those identifying as British (68.9 per cent).

“Brexit has really left me unsure of what my identity is. I don’t feel British, and I certainly don’t identify with the mindset of a lot of British people who live there. Yet, I am not Danish either. So, I don’t really know anymore!” said one of the participants in the survey.

Professor Bueltmann said the survey “demonstrates that Brexit impacts continue to evolve: this didn’t just stop because the transition period was over or a deadline for an application had been reached. Consequently, Brexit continues to shape the lives and experiences of British citizens in the EU/EEA and Switzerland in substantial, sometimes life-altering, ways.”

Considering the results of the study, Professor Bueltmann recommends policy makers in the EU and the UK to address the issue of lack of representation, for instance creating a joint UK-EU citizens’ stakeholder forum.

The report also recommends the UK government to rebuild trust with British citizens in the EU introducing voting rights for life and changing immigration rules to allow British-European families to return more easily. 

This article was prepared in cooperation with Europe Street News.

SHOW COMMENTS