The Northern Hemisphere is in a fashion whirl, as Autumn Winter 2019 Fashion Week events being held first in New York, then London and shortly, Milan and Paris. These events not only showcase the fashion trends for the season ahead, they also give us insight into the state of the world around us. If London Fashion Week is anything to go by, some serious cultural change could be afoot.

Along with the sustainability focus on the runway in Old Blighty, 2019 brought with it a new level of activism. From fast fashion to equality, women’s rights to sustainability, it was all represented on the catwalk.

While fur is no longer the hot topic it once was for vegans and animal rights activists, thanks to many leading fashion houses banning its use in their collections, it appears the use of wool may well be set to follow.

Off the catwalk, animal rights activist group PETA held a demonstration at London Fashion Week protesting “the suffering of sheep exploited for wool”.

PETA director, Elisa Allen, explains:

“Sheep’s wool, just like foxes’ fur, is not a ‘fabric’, and it doesn’t belong to us – it belongs to the animals who were born with it. Whenever animals are viewed as nothing more than commodities to be turned into wool scarves or fur coats, abuse will always be a part of the production process.”

Closer to home, both PETA and the RSPCA have historically uncovered several cases of animal cruelty within the wool industry, with four shearers pleading guilty to a combined total of 60 animal cruelty charges in 2017.

We are yet to hear if any designers listened to the PETA protest and are set to take action, but we can only wait in hope. After all, while ethics have traditionally taken a backseat to design, today technology and access to new materials – ones that are considered sustainable and/or a waste product – is rapidly growing.

By embracing these, both new designers and established fashion houses alike are better able to meet the changing global standards demanded by today’s more socially aware consumers.

Watch this space.


Main image: Shrimps AW19 Collection. All images courtesy of British Fashion Council / Facebook


About the Author


Co Founder, The Vegan Company.

Prior to launching The Vegan Company, Melissa co-founded Meat Free Week, an award-winning, global campaign aimed at raising awareness of the impact excessive meat consumption and production has on animals, the environment and human health.

Having traded life in the city and a successful career in magazine publishing for the serenity of coastal-country living, Melissa now lives in northern NSW, Australia with her husband, two daughters and a colourful menagerie.

Melissa believes there’s a huge shift occurring in the way the world views and treats animals and is excited to be a part of the global vegan movement driving this.

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