Extinction Rebellion stages funeral procession to end London Fashion Week
The group is calling for this year’s fashion week to be the last, after demanding its cancellation in an open letter to the British Fashion Council earlier this year.
The march began at Trafalgar Square before progressing along the Strand, a major road in the center of London, to London Fashion Week’s central venue at 180 The Strand. Protesters were dressed in black, wearing veils and carrying white roses.
Pallbearers carried black coffins, one bearing the slogan “OUR FUTURE,” while other activists banged drums and waved flags featuring the hourglass-shaped Extinction symbol. Banners and placards carried by protesters read “LIFE OR DEATH” and “R.I.P. LFW.”
Members of the Red Brigade, a protest and performance group that has participated in previous Extinction Rebellion events, wore vibrant red robes, headdresses and veils, their faces painted stark white and their eyes outlined in black.
In the open letter delivered to the British Fashion Council in July, Extinction Rebellion accused London Fashion Week of setting a “global precedent” that encouraged the demand for fast fashion, resulting in increased pollution and the exploitation of workers by the fashion industry.
Caroline Rush, chief executive of the British Fashion Council, said in response that London Fashion Week was a “platform to discuss societal issues from access to education to diversity and inclusion, and in this case, climate change.”
Bel Jacobs, a former fashion editor who now belongs to Extinction Rebellion’s Boycott Fashion group, told CNN that Tuesday’s protest was organized to “mark a hopeful end to London Fashion Week,” as well as to “lay to rest the toxic system that is destroying us all, and to mourn those who have already lost their lives and those still to lose their lives to the effects of climate change.”
“The fact is that we have already produced enough clothing to last us all for the next 40 years and beyond — at considerable cost to our planet,” Jacobs said. “We are hoping that people will look at what they already own and use it in new imaginative, creative and joyful ways.”
The funeral was the final event in a series of protests staged by Extinction Rebellion throughout London Fashion Week.
On Friday, the opening day, five activists glued themselves to the entrance of London Fashion Week’s official venue, 180 The Strand, wearing white outfits smeared with red. Others spilled buckets of fake blood to create a “bleeding red carpet,” before lying down in the pools of fake blood to stage a “die-in.”
Protesters also gathered outside Victoria Beckham’s show at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Sunday, carrying signs reading “fashion = ecocide” and “the ugly truth about fashion.”
The Boycott Fashion group will continue to protest after London Fashion Week concludes, Jacobs told CNN.
“Extinction Rebellion will be holding the October Rebellion during which time the fashion teams will be proposing alternatives to the current system by hosting makers and menders, stylists and embroiders, knitters and like-minded organizations — anyone who works with materials already in existence.”
“Our planet is beautiful; it is also the only one we have,” she said. “No one should be working on anything else right now.”