This past New York Fashion Week was a bit of a blur, so much so that I didn’t even realize the absence of an omnipresent fixture in previous seasons: PETA. I didn’t see one protester at Lincoln Center, Milk Studios, or any satellite location in between. No signs, no shouting, and (best of all) no buckets of paint to dodge. It may appear that animal rights activism group PETA are changing their approach.
On the opening night of NYFW, PETA threw a party at the boutique of high-profile vegan Stella McCartney in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District (no meat was packed). Famous people mingled over wine and smiled for photos while a video narrated by Tim Gunn about rabbit and fox slaughtering played. Says WSJ:
PETA, known for its graphic stunts with bleeding carcasses and naked models, is shifting its strategy. Its new approach is less about disrupting events from the outside and more about educating the fashion industry from the inside, says Dan Mathews, PETA senior vice president of campaigns.
First of all, I think if you’re rebranding anything, Tim Gunn is probably a solid ally.
Second of all, this is a step forward, right? PETA’s past stunts–runway invasion, paint throwing, casual misogyny–did nothing but discredit the organization, by making them seem like a bunch of radicals less interested in cleaning up the fur trade and more interested in a world of liberated pets where cats and dogs run rampant in the streets.
“When we’re trying to appeal to the style-obsessed, we realized that they’re going to respond better to a stylish image or something that seems like it’s part of the in-crowd than they will from an angry protester,” says Mr. Mathews.
It seems like PETA has finally realized that if you’re trying to cultivate change, systematic harassment may not be the best course of action (though I’d still like them to scale back on all the naked women).
So: does this make you more sympathetic to PETA’s cause, or just less nervous about getting red paint on your fur?