This article is part of our Vogue Business Membership package. To enjoy unlimited access to Member-only reporting and insights, our NFT Tracker and TikTok Trend Tracker, weekly Technology and Sustainability Edits and exclusive event invitations, sign up for Membership here.

The British luxury, fashion and beauty industry is calling for a reintroduction of tax-free shopping; greater support after the staff exodus and additional bureaucracy from Brexit; and more stability in leadership after the UK’s prime minister, Boris Johnson, resigned today. 

Johnson narrowly survived a vote of no-confidence last month following a series of scandals including rule-breaking parties during lockdown, but today, after a stream of cabinet resignations including chancellor Rishi Sunak and health secretary Sajid Javid, Johnson agreed to step down as PM once a new Conservative Party leader was agreed.

The British fashion industry has seen lower levels of support from the UK government under Johnson’s rule. Industry sources say Brexit, Covid-19 and internal party politics have distracted the government and inhibited its capacity to invest in the £26 billion fashion industry and the £48 billion luxury industry. With Johnson’s resignation and a new cabinet, brands told Vogue Business they are hoping for a more stable government and are keen for greater investment in sustainability, innovation and building a circular fashion economy. Top of mind is also reinstating tax-free tourist shopping, which many argue is slowing industry growth compared with Europe. However, doubts remain whether a new government will go against previous legislation.

“All the internal issues that have consumed the party in [Johnson’s] resignation have been a great distraction from the real needs of business. I’m hoping that [the resignation] will be a reset,” says Helen Brocklebank, chief executive of British luxury trade body Walpole. “The distraction of the personal politics around Boris Johnson has not been helpful [for Britain’s luxury sector],” Walpole has repeatedly called for for the reintroduction of tax-free tourist shopping — a plea that Brocklebank is hoping new chancellor Nadhim Zahawi will be more open to than Sunak, who scrapped it starting January 2021.

Others went further. “Fundamentally, we need certainty, and we haven’t had that for a long time under Johnson,” says Tamara Cincik, founder and CEO of thinktank Fashion Roundtable. Johnson’s government will be remembered for reducing the already-strained civil service; jeopardising a smooth Brexit with its strategy on Northern Ireland; and threatening creative industries by pursuing science, engineering and technology-based education without including the arts and creative education.