Climate activists glued themselves to a door and poured a "bleeding" red carpet at the opening of London Fashion Week on Friday, seeking to draw attention to the apparel industry's impact on the environment. Protesters belonging to the Extinction Rebellion group have vowed to disrupt the five-day event, where luxury brands such as Burberry, Victoria Beckham, and Erdem are presenting their spring 2020 womenswear collections.
The group, which has staged numerous protests in recent months calling for action to tackle climate change, had called on the British Fashion Council (BFC) to cancel the event. Wearing white dresses with blood-like stains, five protesters glued themselves to one entrance of the main London Fashion Week building.
Other demonstrators briefly lay in a pool of pink liquid, which they said depicted blood. The protesters took up their positions before the start of the first fashion show and were gone a few hours later. Guests including editors, buyers, and bloggers entered the building through another door a few meters away.
"(The demonstrators) are calling for the fashion industry to tell the truth about its contribution to the climate and ecological crisis," the group said in a phone message to journalists. At a time of growing public environmental awareness, fashion brands are being urged to be more sustainable and cut waste.
BFC Chief Executive Caroline Rush told Reuters that the demands to cancel London Fashion Week did not "solve the problem in terms of the way the industry needs to address the climate change emergency".
"By having a platform like Fashion Week, it's an opportunity to bring designers and the industry together and engage them in the conversation," she said. "We're looking forward to five days of incredible creativity and we'll be showcasing fantastic businesses, that many of them are already working in terms of how they can address the climate change emergency and what they're doing to address positive change."
London Fashion Week is the second leg of a month-long catwalk season that began in New York and will also take place in Milan and Paris. Designer Mark Fast, known for his knitwear, held London's first catwalk show, presenting a bold and colourful line inspired by the rainforest.
He dressed models in vivid green and neon pink cropped tops with matching short skirts that also nodded to 1990s looks. There were fringed long dresses, mesh tops, cyclist shorts, denim outfits and plenty of snakeskin prints on jackets, shirts and footwear that included lace-up heels and knee-high boots.
Using a blue, green, orange, yellow and pink colour palette, Fast said he had looked to the rainforest flora and fauna. "The destruction of the rainforest started to happen and I thought maybe this show should be a celebration of the beauty of the Amazon," Fast told Reuters backstage referring to the recent fires in the Amazon rainforest.
Asked about the protest outside, Fast said: "We all have our own fights we have to express and we express it in different ways."
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