Environmental activists Extinction Rebellion have issued an open letter to the fashion industry, calling for the transformation of the culture of consumption and destruction. The letter, which arrives in the form of a film, marks the launch of a new campaign, called Fashion Act Now, imploring the industry to do its part in reducing climate and ecological breakdown.
"This is our calling to make the industry transform into what it can be for the people, to move forward and exercise itself not as a vain profession but a humanitarian profession," Virgil Abloh said as one of numerous fashion insiders quoted in the open letter.
Launching during Paris Fashion Week, Fashion Act Now aligns with the ongoing call from Extinction Rebellion, targeting the cancelation of the fashion week format and the coinciding culture of newness and excess.
“This is not about the environmental record of those quoted in our letter but their massive cultural influence. The fashion and luxury sectors promote resource and carbon heavy lifestyles, elitism and exclusion. Creative directors of luxury brands have influence over the wealthiest people in the world," said activist Clare Farrell. "The 10% wealthiest, those earning $35,000 a year, are responsible for more than 52% of our global carbon footprint; and the wealthiest 1%, those earning $100,000 a year, contribute double the footprint of the 50% least wealthiest. We are in a crisis of the environment but also of culture, politics and economics. It’s beyond time for change and our industry knows it.”
During the COVID-19 lockdown, many brands have vowed to take action in reducing their carbon footprint. Some have subsequently expressed the need for change regarding the fashion week format, as the likes of Gucci, Saint Laurent, and Dries Van Noten, among others, have vowed to go season-less and/or follow their own calendar.
"We've done everything to such excess that there is no consumer for all of it. It's a chore that's just a waste of time and energy, and money and materials," Marc Jacobs stated. "Produce, to produce, to produce. It's like having a gun to your head and saying, 'Dance, monkey!'"
Stella McCartney, who has long been a pioneer in sustainable fashion, added, "We have to stop and consider the waste. It's spiraled out of control."
Per Extinction Rebellion, fashion consumption is predicted to grow by 63 percent over the next decade. At the current trajectory, the industry will miss its 2030 emissions targets by 50 percent.
"Our reckless actions have burned the house we live in," said Alessandro Michele. "Separated from nature, we felt cunning and almighty."
Directed by Tessa Edwards and Kailash Bharti, the Fashion Act Now open letter film was shot in an area that is recovering from a wildfire and is narrated by climate activist and educator and mental health advocate, Tori Tsui. You can watch the visual below and find out how to get involved with Extinction Rebellion underneath.