The Pretty Little Thing sample sale organised by the UCD Students’ Union has sparked a backlash from environmental protesters. Extinction Rebellion UCD organised a mock fashion show on the steps in the atrium of the student’s centre, opposite the sample sale. They also set up a clothes swap in the quad room.
In a statement, Extinction Rebellion UCD said that they “have chosen to target fast fashion in this action due to both the environmental damage (if we are to ‘act now’, we have to change this industry) and the social damage (a ‘just transition’ should ensure better livelihoods for everyone than those provided by current clothing manufacturing practices) it causes.”
There was initially confusion as to whether or not the alternate clothes swap was going to be held in the quad room, but this was resolved. Protesters set up outside the Student Centre where the line for the sample sale stretched around the corner. Protesters placed signs around the event, highlighting the environmental damage done by the fashion industry. Many who spoke to The University Observer spoke of the hypocrisy of marching in the climate protest only two weeks before organising this event.
The sample sale received backlash online, which increased when students accused the SU of deleting negative comments from the Facebook event. UCDSU President, Joanna Siewierska told The University Observer; “I want to assure all students that I have spoken to those on the team that have access to our social media accounts and no member of the SU team deleted any comments on the PLT event. As a Union we aim to cater to all students. This event ran successfully last year and was reported in Council one and two last year with no opposition. The PLT event this year was once again oversubscribed and very popular with students. We are a platform for all student voices and as such we have also supported clothes swaps through ECO UCD over the past year. The Union is shaped by our students and we believe the best way forward is for students to debate this matter and bring forward mandates.”*
*This article was amended on 3rd October 2019 to include a quote from UCDSU President Joanna Siewierska.