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A trio of models wearing gas masks stormed London Fashion Week on behalf of the often-controversial organization PETA to bring to light the potentially carcinogenic chemicals in fur. A recent German study found that there were unsafe levels of toxic chemicals in fur trim on clothing, particularly formaldehyde and ethoxylates, which are used to prevent the fur from rotting. These chemicals can cause allergic reactions, act as carcinogens, and be disruptive to hormone production and reproductive organs.
While many organizations have tried to bring ethical fashion, which includes a goal to eliminate animal cruelty, to the mainstream. PETA’s stance is to firmly remain on the fringes, while ensuring their viewpoints are on everyone’s mind, sometimes in shocking ways. Their stunt at London Fashion Week is just one of many.
The question here is whether it is better to follow PETA’s model of shock and awe (and glitz with many celebrity supporters) or the comparatively tame versions adopted by organizations such as Fashion Revolution Day, which included people wearing their clothes inside out to show their labels, or Jessica Alba’s Honest Company, which tries to bring ethical fashion to a mainstream audience through traditional media channels.
Perhaps it is a mix of the two – with the mainstream-friendly approaches applicable to those at the cusp of embracing ethical fashion and the shock-and-awe approach for those he need a push in the right direction.
All that being said, PETA does do a fabulous job of getting the media attention they need to bring this topic to everyone’s lips and camera lens’.