LONDON (Reuters) – Model Arizona Muse urged the fashion industry to become more environmentally sustainable and use its power to help combat climate change, as she joined forces with campaign group Extinction Rebellion ahead of London Fashion Week.
The London event launches on Friday, the second leg of a month-long catwalk season which takes in New York, Milan and Paris. Muse, 31, has made a video for Extinction Rebellion and both want to use the shows to raise awareness.
For big labels, sustainability is an increasingly prominent theme as they seek to promote their environmental credentials to more carbon-conscious consumers, but Muse said more action was needed and faster.
The American-born model, who has worked for Chanel, Estée Lauder, Prada, Louis Vuitton and Yves Saint Laurent, said she felt the climate crisis on a daily basis.
“We are in a shocking situation and we need to feel the shock,” she told Reuters.
She wants fashion to lower its environmental impact and shout about climate change to help change people’s behaviour.
“That’s what I love about being in fashion – this industry can completely change people’s minds overnight. We have that power to do that,” she said, adding that sustainable clothes did not have to be “scratchy” and “brown”.
“We need to harness that power and change the perception of what sustainable fashion is,” she said.
Climate activism has become a feature of the British capital’s fashion week over the last 12 months, with Extinction Rebellion activists trying to use protests such as gluing themselves to doors to try to draw attention to the clothing industry’s impact on the environment.
The fashion industry accounts for 8-10% of global carbon emissions, more than all international flights and maritime shipping combined, according to the UN Environment Programme.
For example, the UN says, textile dyeing is the second largest polluter of water globally and it takes around 2,000 gallons of water to make a typical pair of jeans.
Every second, the equivalent of one garbage truck of textiles is landfilled or burned, it adds.
Muse said she loved fashion events but they needed to redirect their energy towards sustainability.
“I personally don’t want fashion week to go away. I think it’s an amazing moment that we can take to educate and inspire,” she said.
Reporting by Sarah Young; editing by Stephen Addison