How can a fashion show call out for climate justice and action? As part of the coordinated actions throughout the world for climate action, Youth Advocates for Climate Action Philippines (YACAP) harnessed creativity in activism in a recent fashion event at Studio 72, Kalayaan Avenue: “Fashion Against Fascism and Fossil Fuels. Empire of the Son: Drought and Deluge.”
Joanna Rizza David, one of the partner designers of the show, says: “This fashion show in general is a callout to the government that tends to remain oblivious to the plight of its people, especially the farmers, the fisherfolk, and other communities greatly affected by the effects of environmental deterioration.”
Fashion comes at an astonishing environmental and social cost—which is what fashion show director Karl Castro wanted to address with the show’s collections. “Iba-iba yung materials because when we think of environmentally conscious materials, hindi lang siya yung 100% cotton or something. It is about consumption. Changing the way we consume, we made new shirts because there is a message that has to be put across or communicated.”
David reworked denim for her collection. She explains, “The concept of the collection is about the victims of enforced disappearances and other human rights abuse committed during martial law up to the present administration.”
With a title inspired by a 1987 Spielberg film and the first year of the presidency of Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Castro explains, “We identified six key themes: reclamation, El Niño, environmental plunder, disinformation, mental health, tsaka impunity. We organized it under (the theme of) drought and deluge kasi we wanted to draw attention to the worsening El Niño and La Niña phenomenon.”
“Fascism is definitely a key thing that is worsening the situation when it comes to the climate crisis,” says Alab Ayroso, the national coordinator of YACAP. It impacts most “the people who are protecting the environment, the people very close, whose livelihoods and lives are tied to the land, to the ocean.
“One embodiment of fascism is the attack on activists,” David adds. “The red tagging, baseless arrests, enforced disappearances…”
The fashion show was organized by people representing different advocacies, with models representing different sectors, ages and gender representation. David explains, “The call for climate action is not limited to environmental advocates. The call for climate action is actually a point of unity because we, as a community and as a nation, feel the effects of climate change altogether.”
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