Extinction Rebellion protests hit London Fashion Week

You can’t get through here: Members of the group lined up to block the whole road, stopping buses from getting through. Photo: Reuters

LONDON: Extinction Rebellion activists on Saturday blocked traffic outside London Fashion Week to protest against the fashion industry´s “exploitation” of the environment.

Dozens of demonstrators blocked the road near the main building hosting catwalk shows, which began on Friday and continue until Tuesday.

“We started by blocking the road, four people were wearing barbed wire dresses and attached themselves to the ground,” XR spokeswoman Sara Arnold, 33, told AFP.

“The system is based on obsolescence, exploitation and overproduction. This affects the planet, the people, the animals. It needs systemic change.”

It is not the first time “XR” activists have targeted fashion week, having covered themselves in fake blood and tied themselves to the entrance at last September´s event.

The movement sent a letter on Monday to the industry lobby group British Fashion Council asking them to cancel London´s fashion week in September.

Conscious of the accusations, the industry is this week showcasing its efforts in an exhibition dedicated to “positive fashion”.

Many designers concerned about the impact of fashion on the environment are choosing to use renewable or recycled materials and support local craftsmanship.

But environmental activists believe this is not enough and that urgent action is needed.

The protest took place on the second day of Fashion Week, which saw the first London show of Petar Petrov, who presented his women´s autumn/winter 2020/21 collection.

The designer, whose brand has just celebrated its tenth anniversary, unveiled the elegant and sober collection in the surroundings of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) listed headquarters located near Regent´s Park.

The collection was marked by extra-long flared sleeves and wide trouser suits held in place by thin belts.

Versatility was key, with coats worn as dresses and scarf necks and draped jackets that can be tied in different ways.

“I grew up without elegance, I grew up in a socialistic town and everyone had the same,” said the designer, who grew up in Bulgaria and the Ukraine with his tailor mother.

He inherited her love of fabrics, a legacy that has become central to the company´s ethos.

Other shows on Saturday include Britain´s Molly Goddard, known for her voluminous and colourful tulle dresses, and Richard Quinn, who was honoured two years ago by the queen with the “Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design”.

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