The youth arm of the climate activist group Extinction Rebellion, XR Youth US, protested outside of a New York Fashion Week venue in New York City over the weekend.
High schoolers staged a sustainable runway show and modeled upcycled and secondhand clothes. The teenagers grabbed the attention of fashion editors and bystanders with a call to action and informational flyers, Vogue reported.
“It’s more of a call-in than a callout,” Adam Neville, 17, told Vogue.
One protestor wore a dress made of nonbiodegradable bubble wrap, while another wore deli and McDonald’s shopping bags.
The activists said they don’t want to cancel fashion week altogether, but they want the fashion industry to join the climate change movement.
Extinction Rebellion's Youth Group Protested New York Fashion Week With “100% Sustainable" Guerilla Shows. pic.twitter.com/flYBwv3IwV— chloe (@LeoInLaurent) February 12, 2020
XR Youth shared their demands for the fashion industry in a speech. The protestors urged brands to stop using virgin polyester, become carbon neutral by 2025, adopt a circular supply chain, and stop extracting nonrenewable resources from the Earth. They are demanding an “equitable fashion industry.”
Every year, half a million tons of microfibers end up in the world’s waterways, becoming contaminants that harm marine life. Only 1% of clothing is ever recycled and the rest is burned or dumped into a landfill at a rate of one garbage truck’s worth per second, according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.
DAY 1: Let’s start basic. Each year, textile manufacturing produces more greenhouse gases than all international flights and maritime travel combined. That’s a lot. 🚢✈️ (https://t.co/k9InWlxUrz)— XR YOUTH NYC🔥🕊🌎 (@XRYOUTHNYC) February 1, 2020
Fashion production also leads to large amounts of carbon emissions due to transportation and energy consumption.
XR Youth’s New York protests follow a similar stunt from last year. Extinction Rebellion carried out five days of protest during London Fashion Week in September. The group called on the industry to be more transparent about its impact on the environment.
Sophie Anderson, an XR Youth coordinator said the group took inspiration from the London protests, but wanted to send a different message.