MILAN, Italy -- Environmental groups staged colourful demonstrations during the first two days of Milan Fashion Week to protest against the use of toxic chemicals and furs in designer garments. Catwalk shows traditionally have offered a stage for activists campaigning in defense of wildlife and the environment, but growing demand for coloured furs and washed denim jeans has fuelled more vigorous protests.
On Thursday, a woman activist tried to interrupt the show of Just Cavalli, the youth-oriented line by Roberto Cavalli, approaching the catwalk with a banner reading "Your fashion, their death".
The woman, whose banner was signed "visoniliberi.org" and was intended as a protest against Cavalli's use of fur in clothes other than those at the show, was photographed by news media before she was pulled away by staff.
Greenpeace on Wednesday rolled down a 12-metre-long green banner in the shape of a glove along the Sforzesco Castle, a Milan's landmark site, as part of its "fashion duel" campaign. The environmental group is asking luxury goods makers to divulge details about their manufacturing policies and make commitments to preserving Amazon forests and water resources.
"We hope to create an open dialogue with Greenpeace, aimed at an enduring, shared commitment for the sustainability of the planet," Italy's National Fashion Chamber said in a statement.
Fifteen brands including Valentino, Dior, Gucci, Giorgio Armani and Versace have been asked by Greenpeace to say whether they buy leather from cattle that are linked to destruction of the Amazon, or use chemicals that can damage waterways.
Greenpeace deems the responses so far received by the brands unsatisfactory, with only Valentino getting their full approval.
Sales of fur reached record highs last year, according to the International Fur Trade Federation (IFTF), as China's growing appetite for luxury goods put the once-taboo material back on the catwalks.
Visoniliberi.org calls for the abolition of fur farming.
(Reporting by Antonella Ciancio; Editing by Michael Roddy)