Protests on day one of London Fashion Week

Extinction Rebellion stage protest on day one of London Fashion Week. Gareth Morris/PA.

Activists from climate change group Extinction Rebellion and animal rights campaigners PETA staged high-profile protests on day one of London Fashion Week.

Extinction Rebellion protestors wearing white and covered in fake blood staged a “die in” at the main headquarters of London Fashion Week on the Strand. They said the fake blood signified the “blood on the hands” of the fashion industry due to the pollution and waste it creates.

Police led protesters away who were chanting: “You choose profit over planet, profit over people, profit over our future.”

In a statement the group said today’s action was just the first of many over the next five days as the fashion industry is “one of the most polluting in the world with a carbon footprint more than international flights and shipping combined”.

London Fashion Week
Extinction Rebellion protest. Image: PA

Other action planned includes a non-disruptive rally in Lyric Square, Hammersmith, on Saturday and “swarming” activities to create road blocks around the capital.

Meanwhile PETA staged a protest at what it has dubbed “Dirty Leather” and is urging London Fashion Week to ban it from the catwalk. Activists poured “toxic slime” over themselves and held up signs with messages such as “Dump Leather” and “Leather is a Dirty Business”.

London Fashion Week
PETA anti-leather protesters

“No one needs cow skin except the gentle animals who were born in it,” said PETA Director Elisa Allen. “PETA is calling on London Fashion Week to protect animals and the planet by kicking cruel, toxic leather off the catwalk. Consumers can help, too, by giving animal leather the boot.”

The group said that 90% of the Amazon rainforest had been cleared since 1970 to make way for farms to grow food and graze animals, and added that leather is one of the most polluting materials given the chemicals sometimes used in the tanning process.

PETA wants London Fashion Week and the designers who show there to take their lead from Helsinki Fashion Week, which has banned leather, and focus on alternative materials such as vegan leathers, which include those made from microfibres, Ultrasuede, recycled polyurethane, pineapple leaves (Piñatex), mushrooms, and wine grapes (Vegea).