Two models protest Gucci and Burberry at Fashion Week

The Talk of the Catwalk

Issue 1|Winter 2024

PETA Crashes Fashion Weeks Worldwide to Save Animals’ Skins

A leather-clad Coach model had just started down the runway at New York Fashion Week when two PETA supporters leapt up and stole the show in spectacular fashion: Sasha threw off her trench coat, revealing bodypainted muscles and tendons resembling a skinned animal, and Jamie hoisted high a sign proclaiming that leather is fatal. Videos of the protest went viral, and news of the event made headlines worldwide.

A model on the runway with a PETA sign targeting designer brand Coach
Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour got an eyeful at the Coach show.

Putting Fashion’s Victims in the Spotlight

Designers who stole animals’ skin found PETA entities stealing their thunder – crashing catwalks and commandeering camera shots at fashion weeks not only in New York but also in London, Milan, and Paris. These bold takeovers gave the fashion world a series of wake-up calls covered by CNN, The Guardian, People, Parade, Glamour, Teen Vogue, and other outlets worldwide. Calls from the media poured in, seeking the scoop on how PETA’s protesters outsmarted tight security. That will stay a secret, but the cruelty of the skins industry is now out.

Michael Kors and Burberry Get a Lesson About Animal Rights

At a post-runway VIP meet-and-greet in New York, a PETA supporter confronted designer Michael Kors with a sign reading, “Michael Kors: Angora Is Torture!” Kors and guests including Nina Garcia and Olivia Wilde looked on as security carried PETA’s protester away, still making sure everyone could hear her plea to show mercy to rabbits, whose hair is painfully ripped out for nothing more important than a wrap.

A PETA protester holds a sign in front of Michael Kors

Days later in London, a PETA UK supporter stormed the Burberry runway to challenge the fashion house’s brazen lie that it doesn’t knowingly use materials that “may inflict any harm to animal welfare.” PETA Asia investigations have exposed terrified goats screaming as workers pull out their hair for cashmere and workers hacking at ducks’ and geese’s necks with a blunt ax for down on a “responsible” farm – just like the kinds that Burberry touts.

Getting Under Gucci’s Skin About Lizards and Snakes

At a packed Gucci show in Milan, a PETA UK staffer burst onto the scene, urging, “Gucci: Drop Exotic Skins.” At an Indonesian slaughterhouse that supplies Gucci, a PETA Asia investigation revealed workers hacking at conscious lizards’ necks with machetes. PETA Asia has also exposed live snakes being pumped full of water before their skin is peeled off.

Two models protest Gucci and Burberry at Fashion Week

Hermès and Louis Vuitton: Animals Aren’t Belts or Bags

Reporting on the runway takeovers, GQ mused, “Just about everybody in Paris has been wondering which brand is next.” They didn’t have to wonder long: At Hermès’ Paris show, a PETA campaigner sprung from tall grass beside the catwalk to demand that the brand stop making bags, belts, and other accessories using crocodiles – who are stabbed, skinned alive, and gutted.

And outside the Louis Vuitton show, French influencer Jeremstar surprised everyone by popping out of his car dressed as a partly skinned, bloodied snake. With cameras rolling, he railed against the exotic-skins industry. The protests dominated French media, and The New York Times linked to PETA Asia’s investigations.

French influencer Jeremstar protests Louis Vuitton

“Every fashion season has a surprise appearance or two. … At the September shows, it was PETA representatives.”

Vogue, “The 18 Moments That Made Fashion in 2023″

Even Vogue – infamous for promoting real fur – covered PETA entities’ actions: “The group’s anti-fur protests, which stem back to the 1980s, are widely credited with shifting public sentiment about fur,” it acknowledged. “Given growing concerns about leather’s role in the climate crisis and about the demand for exotic skins contributing to biodiversity loss and illicit wildlife trafficking – and ongoing accusations about the cruelty to animals involved in both – the pressure on fashion to face up to its use of leather may be only just beginning.” Bet on it.

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