Extinction Rebellion protesters in central London took to the windows of an H&M store Wednesday afternoon, while not wearing any clothes, to demonstrate against the environmental harms of fast fashion.
The XR activists chanted, “Fashion is fucked, rather be naked,” while wearing placards to cover their naked bodies, which bore messages such as, “Fast Fashion = Fast Extinction” and “Not buying this bullshit”.
A number of protesters remained outside the store, while those who made it in glued their hands to the shop’s window. They said that they had coated their hands in an agent that would react with the substance police have been using to un-glue them after similar actions, causing burns.
The fashion industry is the planet’s second largest polluting industry, just after the oil industry. The mass production of clothing is responsible for around 10 percent of global carbon emissions and the pollution of oceans with microplastics. The fashion industry is also the second largest consumer of the world’s water supply after the agriculture industry.
Since 2000, the amount of clothing being produced has doubled, with the average person buying 60 percent more items of clothing every year and keeping them for around half as long as they did 15 years ago.
As a global fast fashion brand, the Swedish company H&M has long been criticised for the environmental impact of its clothing production. The company has pledged to make the first two steps of its supply chain carbon neutral by 2030, and to only use recycled or sustainable materials by the same year. However, as campaigners have pointed out, these are only goals, and the brand still operates under “an unsustainable, fast-fashion model”.
Extinction Rebellion is now one-and-a-half weeks into its planned two weeks of action. Since last Monday, the group has protested throughout central London, blockaded a newspaper print works and inspired Home Secretary Priti Patel to describe them as “criminals” who threaten the UK’s way of life.
See more photos of today’s protest below.