London Fashion Week took a political turn last week as protesters began to take to the streets in objection of climate change. While some of the biggest names in fashion were displaying their designs, large numbers people gathered outside to speak their concerns. The environmentalist group, Extinction Rebellion, made their mission statement clear while chanting the statement, “There’s no fashion on a dead planet.”
The purpose of the protest was to draw attention to the wastefulness of the textile industry, and the largest fashion event in London was just the place to do so. Armored in their “grass coats” and mounting signs that read “Ethical is always on trend”, these protesters are fighting to raise awareness of the dangers of fast fashion and high street retail hold for the environment, as well as calling for reform within the industry. People even began to block-in cars as the protest escalated. When interviewed by Vogue, Clare Farrell, an environmentalist and founding member of the Extinction group, made the following statement:
Everybody needs clothes, but we don’t need as many clothes as we make today … The reason why we’re going to the fashion industry is because it is one of the most polluting on earth. It is using a vast quantity of the carbon budget that we have left to produce products that we don’t need.
An obscure amount of nonrenewable resources are used in the production of clothing, which inevitably end up in the landfills or incinerated, emitting toxins into the Earth and its atmosphere. Each year, it’s estimated that the textile production business emits roughly 1.2 billion tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, causing more harm than good. Few people actually recognize the immense harm the fashion industry causes to our environment, forgetting that their clothing comes from factories too. Farrell makes it a goal for herself and her organization to raise awareness of this and possibly create some “fashionable allies” to promote the creation of a more eco-friendly world.
The Extinction Rebellion group truly picked the right place to draw attention to their cause. London, being one of the four major fashion capitals in the world, hosts over 5,000 spectators during fashion week, including buyers, television crews and journalists. Past groups saw success in their protests with London being the first anti-fur fashion week this past fall. Reform is slowly beginning to take place within the fashion world, especially in regards to eco-friendliness and awareness. It simply goes to show that standing up for what you believe in truly can make a difference, even in an industry as big as fashion.