London fashion goers are set to face protests on the 17th of September, as Extinction Rebellion has vowed to create chaos including a symbolic funeral for the death of fast fashion.
If you haven’t heard of them already, Extinction Rebellion is an international movement formed in 2018 that uses non-violent civil disobedience in an attempt to halt mass extinction and minimise the risk of social collapse.
This week the Extinction Rebellion (XR) announced their plans to carry out creative disruptive actions throughout this seasons London Fashion Week. While the specific details of this protest remain limited, the XR Boycott Fashion Facebook event post called for supporters to attend the “funeral” at London Fashion Week to signal the symbolic death of the industries status quo.
This call to action followed an open letter written by the XR to the British Fashion Council (BFC) urging them to cancel the event in response to the “existential threat that faces us”. They asked BFC to consider following in the footsteps of the Swedish Fashion Council who cancelled Stockholm Fashion Week due to climate concerns.
In a statement to Euronews, Sara Arnold of Extinction Rebellion’s Fashion Boycott team stated that they don’t want business as usual, and their goal is to divert attention away from the action and toward the imminent problem that we are facing.
Joining Sara as head of the protest, leading activist Jessie Brinton told Vogue UK in an interview that;
“This is a time for boldness. We have to shift the conversation and you can’t do that gently. Everything else has been tried. We’ve been talking about sustainability since the 1970s and it hasn’t worked. Now, we have to do something new.
“Abrupt climate breakdown is happening right now, and it only gets worse, so we need to stop business as usual. Plus, London Fashion Week is hugely influential. There’s a fire alarm going off and it takes that first person to get up and walk out for others to follow. We need the fashion industry to be that person.”
These symbolic protests will target individual show venues across London, the British Fashion Council’s Headquarters at Somerset House and on the final day of fashion week there will be an organised walk from Trafalgar Square to 180 The Strand where they will host a symbolic “die-in”.
Explaining this, Sara stated the will drop to the ground on the streets outside and block the road. The funeral is to commemorate the lives that have been lost due to this crisis – it’s a time to grieve together.
Caroline Rush, chief executive of the British Fashion Council told Dazed Magazine that she has nothing against peaceful protests;
“We are pleased that we live in a country where we have a right to protest peacefully – and believe that more than any other capital London has an opportunity to be a part of a culture change around sustainable business practices that put creative product at their core.”
But the XR team admits it’s easy to slip into a mind-frame of sticking your head in the sand when it comes to the causes of climate change and its effects – but we don’t have time to waste any more.
“Nowadays, you see a headline and react, but then the news cycle moves on and suddenly you’re back in a world where it’s not happening anymore. I find myself doing this sometimes, I think it’s called functional denial. But climate change is happening, and the time to act is now.”
The organisations peaceful disruptive events will be held from the start of London Fashion week on the 13th of September, ending with its final demonstration on the 17th.
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