Extinction Rebellion target London Fashion Week with oil stunt and ‘die in’
Extinction Rebellion has once again targeted London Fashion Week as part of its climate-focused protests, though this time the enemy isn’t the fashion industry itself: it’s Coca-Cola.
XR activists positioned themselves outside the red carpet at 180 The Strand yesterday and began a series of stunts in protest of London Fashion Week’s partnership with Coca Cola, which XR claim is the “world's biggest plastic polluter.”
Activists poured fake oil out of large novelty bottles of Coca Cola, splashing it onto the red carpet, set off smoke bombs and held aloft banners which read “Cut the ties to fossil fuels” and “Coca-Cola: World's top plastic polluter.”
Coca Cola says it is taking steps to reduce its pollution, pledging to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 25 per cent by 2030, and recycle a bottle or can for every one they sell by the same year.
Marijn van de Geer, a spokesperson for XR, said: “Coca-Cola are an evil company that holds a lot of responsibility for the destruction of biodiversity and of our planet. They are a major plastic polluter.
“London Fashion week should be ashamed of having them as a sponsor. They should not be helping Coca-Cola's image. They are doing a lot of harm and it needs to stop.”
This isn’t the first time that Extinction Rebellion has targeted fashion week — in 2019 the group held a faux “funeral march” demonstration to highlight the impact of fast fashion on the environment. The protest, which started in Trafalgar Square, attracted around 200 participants, some of whom wore funeralwear and black veils. The participants gathered around fake coffins which bore signs saying “RIP LFW 1983-2019” and “Our Future.”
The group has targeted fashion weeks in other cities, too, with activists interrupting Louis Vuitton’s spring 2022 Paris show in 2021, with banners and placards that read “Overconsumption = Extinction.”
And in February 2020, a youth division of Extinction Rebellion staged an “alternative fashion show” in New York made up of upcycled and secondhand clothes.
Speaking about the current protests, spokesperson Marijn van de Geer added: "Governments are not listening to protesters like ourselves. It’s absolutely devastating. When we started in 2018 we didn't think we would have to be here five years later.
"We’re very close and teetering on the edge of a climate change catastrophe and we should all be terrified. But we have to let that fear move us into action rather than apathy of feeling overwhelmed."
A spokesperson for Coca-Cola said: “We share the goal of eliminating plastic waste from the environment and acknowledge that The Coca-Cola Company has a responsibility to help solve this issue.
“That was the ambition in establishing our World Without Waste goals, and while we continue to make progress against these targets, we are challenging ourselves to do more, faster. Today, all of our packaging is 100% recyclable, and our aim is to get more of it back so that it can be recycled and turned into new packaging again, with all our smaller packs now being made with 100% recycled plastic.
“That is why we support the introduction of a well-designed Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) across Great Britain. This will help to ensure more packaging is collected for recycling, with the aim of making litter a thing of the past.”