At the New York Fashion Week, the prestigious event was marred when two protesters from the animal rights organization, PETA, interrupted Coach’s runway show, drawing attention to their campaign against the use of leather. The company was showcasing its Spring 2024 ready-to-wear collection, a landmark event that marked a decade with Stuart Vevers as their creative director.
Details of the Protest
- One of the activists removed her clothing to reveal body paint, meticulously designed to resemble a skinned body, exposing muscles, flesh, and tendons.
- A sign reading “Coach Leather kills” was held up by one protester, while the other had the same message painted directly on her body.
- The protest did not go unnoticed by security personnel, who quickly moved to intercept the activists. However, the protesters managed to circle the room halfway before they were removed.
- During the commotion, a third activist captured the event, which was later posted by PETA on X, previously known as Twitter.
Front-row attendees included renowned celebrities like Jennifer Lopez and Lil Nas X, both witnessing the unexpected turn of events. Jewelry designer George Inaki Root, another front-row observer, expressed his initial confusion, questioning the authenticity of the incident. He stated, “[The protest] matches the collection, so I wasn’t really sure what it was until I saw them being dragged out.”
PETA, which stands for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, has been at the forefront of campaigning against the mistreatment of animals. Tracy Reiman, PETA’s executive vice president, emphasized the significance of adopting innovative vegan materials over animal-derived ones. The animal rights group went on to accuse leather production industries of inhumane practices, claiming cows are often subjected to suffering during processing. CNN tried reaching out to Tapestry Inc., the parent company of Coach, seeking their comments on the allegations raised by PETA and the incident itself, but as of yet, there hasn’t been an official statement.
Coach, a brand established in 1941, is widely recognized for its leather handbags and accessories. PETA’s consistent efforts over the years have targeted the fashion industry’s use of fur, with dramatic tactics like splashing red paint and initiating media campaigns. Their aim has now shifted to eliminate the use of other animal-derived materials such as wool, leather, and down. PETA asserts that while materials like wool and leather are considered commonplace, the underlying industry practices are equally cruel.
Impact on the Fashion Industry
While this protest isn’t the first of its kind, the act of crashing runway shows was a common tactic employed by PETA in the early 2000s, with memorable disruptions at Dior and Victoria’s Secret shows. The recent protest at Coach signifies the first significant runway interruption of the 2020s. The implications of such acts on future fashion event securities and their influence on brand images remain uncertain.
Response to PETA’s Intervention
While Coach has yet to make an official statement regarding the PETA incident, the larger conversation about the use of animal-derived materials in the fashion industry has gained momentum. Fashion insiders, bloggers, and influencers took to their social media platforms to discuss the implications of such protests on a brand’s image and the industry as a whole. Some applauded PETA’s audacity and message, while others criticized the disruption of an artist’s platform.
New York Fashion Week (NYFW) is an iconic event that signifies the commencement of Fashion Month. The week-long event, which started on Thursday, will continue until September 13, showcasing designs from top-notch designers like Ralph Lauren, Christian Siriano, and Proenza Schouler. Apart from runway displays, the event promises a plethora of parties and activations from brands such as Aldo, J.Crew, MCM, and many more, ensuring that enthusiasts and attendees have a plethora of activities and events to engage with.