Superdry founder Julian Dunkerton has donated £1m to the People’s Vote campaign, which seeks to give British voters a chance to have their say on the final Brexit deal.
Dunkerton, who stood down from the business he founded in March of this year, said he made the donation because he believed that had the Brexit vote happened 20 years earlier, the brand he founded with designer James Holder would not have gone on to become the global success it is today.
Speaking to The Observer, the entrepreneur said: “If Brexit had happened 20 years earlier, Superdry would never have become the global success that it did. We would have struggled to cope with negotiating customs and tariffs. Perhaps even more importantly, Europe was our staging post because inside the single market we had no fear of opening a store in France, Germany, Belgium or anywhere else.”
Dunkerton, who remains a shareholder in Superdry, said he felt the government had “made a mess” of Brexit and had no clear vision for it. He said he felt public mood was moving away from Brexit. “I’m putting some of my money behind the People’s Vote campaign because we have a genuine chance to turn this around. I’ve got a good instinct for when a mood is going to change and we’re in one of those moments now,” he added.
The donation will be used to carry out what is claimed to be one of the most detailed polling exercises ever carried out by a campaign to give people the confidence to “demand the democratic right for their voice to be heard – to get a People’s Vote on any Brexit deal or the outcome of these negotiations.”
In a video to support the campaign Dunkerton compared Brexit to ordering chicken in a restaurant, finding out it is undercooked and eating it anyway even though you know it will make you ill.
— People's Vote UK (@peoplesvote_uk) August 19, 2018
Dunkerton’s donation has been met with a predictably mixed result. Some Brexiteers have called for a boycott of Superdry in light of Dunkerton’s move but it was also met with widespread support from members of the business and fashion community. Boxpark founder and fellow industry entrepreneur Roger Wade simply Tweeted “Well done Julian!”
When he left Superdry this spring, Dunkerton said he would be focusing on other business endeavours and charitable causes. As a parting gift from the company he donated more than £1m in shares to The Blue Marine Foundation, a charity which protects seas from overfishing.