From activist Instagram accounts to eco museums, young warriors across the globe have been spurred on by Greta Thunberg and the media to confront climate crisis, before it confronts us. The largest climate crisis movement to date has been Extinction Rebellion, whose real-life impact has been so large that so far they have successfully staged roadblocks in London, completely disrupted the House of Commons, and staged worldwide die-ins highlighting the risk of human extinction.
Hundreds of thousands of people have been rightly participating in the ongoing protest, using non-violent action (despite many arrests by the UK police force) with the aim to persuade governments to act on the Climate and Ecological Emergency. They are also calling for the UK government to act right now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025, and to create a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice.
Two days ago, the organisation announced its latest mission: to try and ‘shut down’ London Fashion Week, which is argued to be the best way to halt the fashion industry’s enormous damage to our planet. The actual catwalks won’t be disrupted, but Extinction Rebellion have reported that they will try everything to delay fashion week attendees from making it from place to place, on time. Judging by how I found myself having to walk through central London for a month due to travel disruptions, this shouldn’t be difficult.
As reported on their Instagram: “On the 26th of July, we sent a letter to the British Fashion Council. “In recognition of the existential threat that faces us, we ask the British Fashion Council to be the leaders the world needs now and to cancel London Fashion Week. We ask that instead the industry convene a People’s Assembly of industry professionals and designers as a platform to declare a Climate and Ecological Emergency, to face the truth and to take action following in the footsteps of The Tate and Culture Declares.” The BFC agree “We are facing a climate change emergency and all need to act” but we don’t see emergency action.”
The campaign will target areas of high consumption where Fashion Week is most present – Somerset House, British Fashion Council (BFC) HQ, New Bond Street, and most likely the Strand. This is more than half-hearted PR activism by fashion brands – this is true, decisive action that has been missing from addressing fashion’s role in the climate crisis.