Scrap the catwalk: Extinction Rebellion is right – London fashion week is unsustainable

08 | 2019

The environmental impact of the fashion industry is enormous. And with fashion weeks acting as promoters of even more consumption, it’s time for radical action.

I have long wanted to get a special T-shirt printed for our national bi-annual fashion showcase. It would read: “I went to London fashion week and all I got was this lousy (unsustainable) T-shirt.” A pale form of dissent, I know, but it would probably generate some Insta likes and at least be a way to echo my frustration that the four premier global fashion jamborees (London, New York, Paris and Milan) continue to celebrate a system of production and consumption that is spinning us ever closer to ecological Armageddon.I had better get a move on with my T-shirt before London fashion week (LFW) is cancelled. Because the environmental group Extinction Rebellion has seized the initiative, writing to the British Fashion Council (BFC), conveners of London fashion week, demanding it is scrapped in favour of “a people’s assembly of industry professionals and designers as a platform to declare a climate and ecological emergency”. It is too early to speculate on what format this might take, but it is not a scenario brimming with immediate Frow (front row) appeal. That is to say, it is hard to imagine fashion influencers, the Insta-elite and bloggeratti, including Kylie Jenner et al, stampeding to take part in a town hall meeting on Arctic melt rates. But Extinction Rebellion is not likely to be fazed by such frivolous objections. It is deadly serious, on account of the deadly nature of runaway climate change.

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