Peta protesters storm Coach runway at New York Fashion Week

Creative director Stuart Vevers, marking 10 years at the brand, gave the demonstrators space to express their views

Demonstrators from the animal protection group Peta protested about Coach's use of leather. AFP
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New York Fashion Week has got off to a suitably outspoken start, with animal rights protesters storming the Coach runway.

Taking place in the city known for its liberal thinking, two female demonstrators from Peta jumped on stage at the spring 2024 show.

Making a statement about the use of leather by the company, one woman was covered in body paint to mimic animal flaying, while another carried a sign that read “Coach: leather kills”.

Peta has since posted footage of the event to its social media platform.

The event marked the 10-year anniversary of creative director Stuart Vevers at the house. Inspired by his early days in the city, the collection doubled down on Coach’s heritage as a leather brand, via loose, street-infused clothes.

Opening with a black slip dress crafted from pieces of leather, the show offered others in differing lengths and colours, from tomato red to lilac. There were leather separates, as a boxy jacket over a sleek, longline pencil skirt slung low on the hips, and as cropped leather bralettes and boy shorts under flimsy dresses of netting or finger knitting.

In this co-ed show, the boys wore oversized leather jackets with little more than heavy boots, while everything was interspersed with soft, jersey-like suiting, that continued the feeling of ease and comfort.

Presumably, Vevers is aware of the dilemma faced by all fashion houses of needing to create luxurious goods demanded by customers, while contributing to practices that are destructive to the planet.

With a career spent working with leather – Vevers has led both the Spanish house Loewe and the British bag company Mulberry – he has had time to adopt new techniques.

As a result, Coach uses not only virgin skins, but also upcycled and recycled leather, as well as regenerated leather, a material created by pressing low-grade and scrap leather together and coating it with polyurethane.

Given that New York prides itself in being a tolerant city, stemming from its melting pot of residents, it is worth noting the protesters were not removed by security. Speaking with US Vogue after the show, Vevers explained he “respects all points of view”.

Updated: September 08, 2023, 8:31 AM