Extinction Rebellion is currently getting ready for its next act of nonviolent civil disobedience to raise awareness about the environmental damage caused by the fashion industry. The protest in question? They want to cancel London Fashion Week.
“We are asking people to find their courage and to collectively do what is necessary to bring about change,” Extinction Rebellion’s website states. Part of the way the organization brings about change is through organizing mass protests to raise awareness about the decline of the environment, specifically in the role the fashion industry plays in it. For example, the group organized 10 days of climate change protests in London in April, including staged “die-ins” as a way to spread awareness about the climate emergency, and asked people to join a boycott and take a pledge not to buy clothes for 52 weeks. In July, members of Extinction Rebellion were featured in a campaign by London fashion designer Stella McCartney, who advocates for sustainable fashion.
Three days ago, Extinction Rebellion took to Instagram to declare their intention to shut down London Fashion Week—which is set to take place in September. “We face an existential threat if we do not change course by 2020, yet meaningful action has not yet begun,” the statement reads. “Fashion is one of the most polluting industries and one of the most influential. Fashion should be a cultural signifier of our times, and yet it still adheres to an archaic system of seasonal fashion and relentless newness at a time of emergency. 🚨”
The statement continued to explain that they have sent a letter to the British Fashion Council requesting that they cancel London Fashion Week and that, in its place, the industry plans a “People’s Assembly of industry professionals and designers as a platform to declare a Climate and Ecological Emergency,” the post reads.
Responding to Extinction Rebellion’s plans to protest LFW, Caroline Rush, chief executive of the British Fashion Council, told Dazed, “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 cultural change around sustainable business practices that put creative product at their core.”
Since it doesn’t look like the British Fashion Council has any plans to cancel their semiannual fashion week, Extinction Rebellion is planning on delaying fashion week attendees from getting to shows on time, according to *Dazed*. They’re also planning a “funeral” to take place on September 17, aptly titled “London Fashion Week: Rest in Peace.” The event description on Facebook declares, “Let’s put this fashion system to rest and call for a rebirth of fashion.”
“We’re singling out LFW because they’re thought leaders, they’re cultural leaders, and for that they need to step up and alert people to this emergency. They have to use the platform they have to its maximum potential,” Sara Arnold, who’s running the campaign, told Dazed.
Disruptions to the event are likely to get mainstream coverage, propelling the message about fashion’s place in the climate crisis further. While cancelling LFW is an attempt to shed light on environmental change that’s needed within the industry, the downside of that could be the small designers and indie brands something like this might affect.
Rush pointed out, in the statement given to Dazed, that LFW will feature businesses that focus on positive fashion, rather than fast fashion. “We believe that the platform of London Fashion Week can communicate to both industry and general public, that not all businesses are equal and that those that support a better future are the ones that should be supported to be able to encourage more to adapt better business practices of positive change,” she told the publication.
Originally Appeared on Teen Vogue