SAWT BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL

| 2 December 2021, Thursday |

Green activist hid in Louvre loos before gatecrashing Louis Vuitton’s show

Marie Cohuet lurked in a bathroom at the Louvre art museum for more than two hours, planning her gatecrashing of Louis Vuitton’s Paris Fashion Week event in protest of environmental devastation caused by the fashion industry, according to campaigners.

Cohuet recognized her chance when employees were distracted by the flashy arrival of actress Catherine Deneuve, after moving closer to the show’s entrance as the event approached.

Cohuet pretended to be from the organizing team and stepped in, talking animatedly into her phone.

She bided her time until the catwalk parade began to a soundtrack of thunderous organ music and church bells, at which point she unfurled her banner and joined the procession of models under a chandelier-lit runway.

Her banner was scrawled with the slogan “overconsumption = extinction”.

Cohuet said she had taken a stand on Oct. 5 against a fashion industry that fell short on its promises to act against climate change and pushed brands to renew collections faster, and produce more for less cost.

She accused LVMH of having pledged to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions but excluding its sub-contractors from its calculations.

Asked by Reuters to comment, LVMH said its 2030 target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than half, announced in April, included those of subcontractors.

Critics say that fast fashion, which replicates catwalk trends and high-fashion designs at breakneck speed, is wasteful, exploits low-paid workers and pollutes the environment, including through intensive use of pesticides to grow cotton.

On the runway, Cohuet’s heart was in her stomach as she stared ahead and passed the gazes of cinema stars, LVMH chief executive Bernard Arnault and members of his clan.

“Sometimes an act of civil disobedience is needed, sometimes we need to challenge head-on those who are screwing the planet today, those who are trampling on human rights and social rights,” Cohuet said.

As a teenager at home, she expressed her indignation at the failure of global leaders to act on climate change. It had only been in the past few years that she joined protests, organized petitions and lobbied lawmakers.

Cohuet said she avoided unnecessary apparel purchases and jet travel, but that one individual could only have so much impact. She went on to say that real change must come from governments and business leaders.

Despite this, Cohuet sees little hope for substantial progress at the United Nations COP26 climate change meeting in Glasgow, Scotland, later this month.

“On paper, nice promises are made, but things tend to fall apart, and states fail to transform them into tangible acts,” she explained.