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Climate change activists target London Fashion Week

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Campaigners from the environmental group, Extinction Rebellion, descended on The Strand Photo: Bairbre Power

Campaigners from the environmental group, Extinction Rebellion, descended on The Strand Photo: Bairbre Power

Campaigners from the environmental group, Extinction Rebellion, descended on The Strand Photo: Bairbre Power

London Fashion Week became a battleground today as climate change activists took to the streets and staged a protest calling for the bi-annual showcase to be axed.

Campaigners from the environmental group, Extinction Rebellion, descended on The Strand to protest about the fashion industry's contribution to carbon emissions and raise awareness of sustainable design.

Demonstrators with pink flags blocked off three junctions outside the London Fashion Week (LFW) HQ near Westminster in central London, causing traffic to back up throughout the capital.

Last September, the protesters held a faux funeral during London Fashion Week, calling for the cancellation of one of the industry's biggest events.

Extinction Rebellion maintain that the clothing industry accounts for 7pc of global greenhouse gas emissions.

They want to halt the over production in the industry, which feeds into landfill, and have urged changes to tackle the ecological crisis.

Demonstrators today held a "swarm" in which they stood across junctions in front of 180 Strand, the building where the British Fashion Council is organising 60 shows over the five days.

The traffic snarl-up hit people trying to navigate their way to shows on the schedule. Protesters also staged a protest at Gatwick Airport.

The demonstrators demanded an emergency action plan to combat the fashion industry's role in the ongoing ecological crisis and to tackle over- production.

The protesters first gathered outside Temple tube station and then marched on the LFW hub on the Strand . They carried placards reading 'No fashion on a dead planet' and 'No more false fashion'. Among the diverse group of protesters I met were students, retired people and parents with children.

Artist and writer, Deborah Nash attended, proudly wearing a 70-year-coat she told me had belonged to her mother, Jean. She expressed alarm at the amount of water used to manufacture a tee shirt and a pair of jeans. According to World Wildlife Fund, it takes 20,000 litres of water to make a tee shirt and a pair of jeans.

Numbers are already down at this London Fashion Week, showing collections from Autumn Winter 2020, with some press and buyers staying away against the backdrop of the coronavirus outbreak.

Many buyers have come to London directly from New York Fashion Week and it's next stop Paris.

The London event, held every six months, is a major showcase for Irish designers. Richard Malone from Co Wexford unveiled his latest collection inside the Strand venue yesterday with a collection very strong on sustainability. He uses biodegradable dyes and offcuts of fabric.

Rixo and Richard Quinn are hosting shows in central London today and Katie Ann McGuigan unveils her newest pieces at the Strand venue tomorrow.

Online Editors