Anti-fur protests during fashion week are nothing new but demonstrations reached a climax last night when one activist made it onto the runway.
For autumn/winter 2018, Greek born, London-based designed Mary Katrantzou offered up an opulent fusion of Bauhaus and Victoriana, but shortly after the show started a protestor crashed the catwalk.
The as-yet-unnamed campaigner from SURGE – a UK non-profit animal rights organisation – paraded on the runway alongside models wielding her phone and heckling the audience by calling out, “Shame on you. Shame on all of you!”
Documented by many of the shows guests, various clips show the woman walking up and down the runway before being quickly escorted away by security.
In light of the incident, Mary Katrantzou’s team issued a statement to guests insisting that the collection was entirely fur-free.
“Please note this show did not include any real fur. Only faux fur was used,” it read.
“Thank you so much for your patience and understanding at the show.”
The confrontation followed earlier stunts by SURGE outside of the venue where, instead of paparazzi, guests were greeted with a crowd of angry activists wielding billboards, banging drums and chanting “blood, blood, blood on your hands.”
But, this was just one of many orchestrated anti-fur demonstrations that took place with the same crowd gathering outside the Burberry show on Saturday afternoon.
Similarly, a protest by animal rights charity PETA saw activists paint the message “wear your own skin" across their naked torsos at the end of last week in a bid to encourage showgoers to stand up for animal rights and adopt a vegan wardrobe.
But is the fact that London Fashion Week has been met with activism on a much bigger, aggressive scale now, at a time when more than 90 per cent of its designers confirmed to the British Fashion Council (BFC) that they would not be using fur, a little excessive?
Most of us agree that real fur should be removed from the catwalks and, while there are still lessons to be learned, the fashion industry is making huge strides to shift to a fur-free policy.
Likewise, Tom Ford announced that he would only be using fur that is a by-product of food since becoming vegan. Still a controversial move, the designer has defended his decision by describing the impact that fake fur has on the environment.
“I've been vegan for about the last year,” he told WWD (Women's Wear Daily).
“When you look at how most of our meat, our animal products, are raised, from a health standpoint, I didn't feel that I should eat those things anymore.
“Now, however, I have limited the fur in these collections and going forward to food by-products, which does not sound sexy.
“I’m also very torn about this because fake fur is terrible for the environment.
“People think of fake fur as a disposable thing. They buy it, they wear it a few seasons, they throw it away, it doesn’t biodegrade. It’s a petroleum product. It is highly toxic.”
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