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  • Writer's pictureXR Fashion Action


XR Fashion Action: Cancel Fashion Week


On Sat 19 Feb 2022, from 12.30pm GMT, Extinction Rebellion Fashion Action held demonstrations outside iconic fashion locations around central London including Somerset House and 180 The Strand

Since 2019, Extinction Rebellion Fashion Action have been calling on the British Fashion Council to cancel London Fashion Week and reconvene for crisis talks to address the fashion industry’s role in the climate and ecological emergency.

The group decided to take action during London Fashion Week following the release of an open letter to the British Fashion Council — which they sent to them directly and published on the Extinction Rebellion Fashion Action website and social media accounts. Read the open letter and find out more about our Three Demands.

Photographer: Andrea Domeniconi

In the letter, Extinction Rebellion Fashion Action once again calls for the cancellation of London Fashion Week and asks the British Fashion Council to commit to their Three Demands - ‘Tell the truth’, ‘Redesign the system’ and ‘Legislation’. The activists state that this should include an emergency action plan that supports the industry in a just, equitable transition.

In 2019, the British Fashion Council responded to Extinction Rebellion Fashion Action’s demands by suggesting that Fashion Week is a platform that will enable change and facilitate discussion surrounding fashion’s systemic issues. They also said that they recognise that there is a climate emergency and will encourage all businesses to address how they can reduce their negative impact on the planet. However, the activists state that they are yet to see any adequate action.

Global consumption of clothing and footwear is expected to increase by 63% by 2030, from 62 million tonnes in 2015 to 102 million in 2030 [1]. Despite increased public pressure around the need for climate action and the revelations of the Environmental Audit Committee’s ‘Fixing Fashion’ report in 2019, the consumption of clothing is also on the rise in the UK.[2].

From fast-fashion to high-end luxury, the fashion industry and its prevailing model rely heavily on the use of cheap, synthetic, fossil fuel-derived fibres. Due to their cheap costs, fossil fuel-derived fibres are a key enabler of the fast-fashion business model, and their production already requires more oil than the annual consumption of Spain [3].

The latest IPCC report tells us that the climate crisis is 'unequivocally' being caused by human activity and is having devastating impacts around the world [4]. The fashion industry is responsible for up to 10% of annual global carbon emissions [5]. If the industry does not accelerate its response to the climate crisis, it will produce around twice the volume of emissions it requires to stay within the limits set by the Paris Agreement global warming pathways by 2030 [6].

While we welcome the British Fashion Council’s acknowledgement of the environmental impacts of the fashion industry and commitment to using London Fashion Week as a platform for conversations, we are concerned that this is just lip service as long as they continue with business as usual. The current model of continuous consumption is pushing our planetary boundaries past the point of collapse. Even if the industry was able to transition fully to sustainable materials and practices, we would still be consuming and discarding clothing at an unsustainable pace. We urgently need to transition to a new system in which clothing can become a long-lasting commodity. Cancelling London Fashion Week would send a clear message to the industry worldwide that it is time to revaluate and reimagine how we experience fashion. It is time for radical transformation!” - Lara Fank, activist and fashion design assistant.

“Whether or not we choose to accept or acknowledge it, the climate crisis now defines us: it is time to react and adapt or to suffer total system collapse. We believe that the fashion industry, powered by so many brilliant and creative minds, has the potential to reform itself so that it may continue to inspire and serve generations to come. However, we are rapidly running out of time. The climate and ecological emergency is a crisis and we must respond accordingly. Extinction Rebellion Fashion Action will continue to put pressure on the British Fashion Council until there is sufficient action taken in line with the seriousness of the threat of the climate emergency.” - Ruby Lennox, activist and London College of Fashion graduate.

Notes to editors

Most recent letter to British Fashion Council Previous letters to British Fashion Council



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