Savile Row has joined the list of UK tailors who are finding economic conditions tough because of new tariffs set by the US government.
The historic tailoring firm who headline the world renowned London Street, have stated that every suit they sell faces a 25% additional tariff.
James Sleater, founder and director of Savile Row’s newest tailor, Cad & the Dandy said “I don’t think anybody on the street was aware of [the tariff]. Conversations about Airbus and [US President Donald] Trump and Savile Row are not normally three words that go hand in hand,”
Retailers have had very little time to prepare for this new tariff as the tariff almost doubles export tax on suits from 13% to 25%.
A spokesman for Airbus commented “The only way to avoid the negative effects of the tariffs is for the US and EU to find a negotiated settlement. We are working with all our customers to try to mitigate the impact by all possible means.”
On 2 October, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) gave the US permission to impose taxes on $7.5bn (£5.8bn) of goods it imports from the EU.
This forms the next chapter in the ongoing saga between Washington and Brussels over illegal subsidies given to Airbus (EPA: AIR) and Boeing (NYSE: BA).
Tariffs have also been slapped on other British exports such as scotch whiskey, cashmere knitwear and wool suits.
International Trade Secretary Liz Truss says: “Resorting to tit-for-tat tariffs is not in any country’s best interests and we are in regular contact with the Trump administration, urging them to refrain from resorting to such measures. As well as causing temporary disruption to UK businesses, it would also hit American consumers in the pocket.”
Savile Row’s seniority have expressed their concerns about potential US business. Kathryn Sargent, Savile Row’s first female master tailor worries that US customers may not know about the tariffs imposed and that clients may enquire about reflected price rises.
Sargant added “It is a conversation that I’ll be having with my clients when I’m over there, to sense what their reaction is and to see if it puts them off placing future orders,”
Mr Dixon says that Richard James, one of the few Savile Row tailors with a store in the US adds “But we think there will be a price rise, we will have to pass some of this on to our customers. Nevertheless, an increase is an increase and we pride ourselves on people getting value for money, especially for a Savile Row suit.”
Dixon concluded “The amount of man-hours that go into it, the incredible fabrics used and a suit that can last 20 years or 30 years and then to have a big part of that being paid in tax. I don’t know how people are going to feel about that”