On Sunday, September 13, we kicked off New York Fashion Week by staging a demonstration outside Spring Studios in lower Manhattan to draw attention to the fact that the global fashion industry profits from Uyghur forced labour. More than 50 models and activists participated in a mock fashion show wearing white cotton t-shirts that read #FreeUyghurs and #ForcedLabourFashion, with red ribbons in solidarity with Uyghur prisoners.
"20% of the world's cotton is being produced through the forced labor of the Uyghur ethnic minority in China," said Founder and Executive Director Sara Ziff. "Thanks to an Uyghur model, Merdan Ghappar, who spent 18 days shackled in a labor camp where he filmed himself handcuffed in a dirty room, we can no longer deny the reality of genocide in fashion’s global supply chain. The Model Alliance is calling on all the designers showing at Fashion Week to speak beyond the craft and creativity of your work, and to the underlying conditions of your source material: are you profiting off the oppression of a whole people?"