Blog: Fashion freaks fight fracking

Tucked under the duvet with your partner with an ice-cream tub or eating takeaway pizza with your family while watching primetime Saturday night telly could be the ideal kind of […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

Tucked under the duvet with your partner with an ice-cream tub or eating takeaway pizza with your family while watching primetime Saturday night telly could be the ideal kind of weekend-in.

And if you happened to watch Casualty while doing just that, you’ll already know that energy was the focus of the storyline in this week’s episode – that’s right energy! No, not price freezes or Ofgem and the Big Six but …. you know what’s coming… fracking.

Yep, a pair of eco-warriors try to stop a lorry getting to a fracking site, there’s an inevitable accident and they end up in the casualty unit fighting for their lives.

While I thought the controversial process of extracting shale gas would initiate topics for debates across the country, I hadn’t expected it to be part of a major storyline in a popular Saturday night drama series! But fracking gets everywhere and last week it had even more media attention as it was the theme for an inpromtu fashion parade in central London.

Last week I attended a carnival against fracking with a cast of hundreds dressed up in what I can only describe as “striking apparel” with adults and kids kitted out with gas masks, homemade chemical suits and painted faces. There were zombies, vampires, pixies and a collection of wild men and women, the protestors were all dressed up in a way they believed represents a toxic future if we go full on for fracking.

Perhaps their attire wasn’t that inappropriate considering one of the speakers on the march was none other than the doyen of shocking fashion, Vivienne Westwood. Now shorn of her trade mark red hair (she shaved it all off to prostest against climate change), the old dame of punk fashion made a speech to the fashion zombies warning our future is doomed if we continue to frack.

Ms Westwood is herself trying to reduce her fashion empire’s carbon footprint and become all-round more sustainable. Now as ELN’s resident fashionista, I’ve always enjoyed colourful clothing and new styles. I used to write a fashion blog, have been to various shows and was once featured in a Nepali glossy mag but never did I think my two worlds would collide; energy and fashion?

But there I was, in the middle of this mad fashion parade to fight fracking!

With hundreds of “monstrous-looking” people coming from across the country, marching their way across London with a message they were passionate about, I thought there would be some kind of chaos – but I was pleasantly surprised at how peaceful it was. They might have looked like a freaks’ fashion parade but it was just their way of portraying their message.

What I also realised is that fracking is really close to many people’s hearts; they are worried about their next generation – their children and grandchildren, that’s why there were so many mini-zombies there. ELN has covered anti-fracking protests for more than a year now and little of the passion against this energy source has dissipated after all these months.

This despite the government’s plans to move forward with it, offering “sweeteners” to local councils and incentives for the gas industry. This despite the repeated scientific reports saying the power source is safe.

Whether or not the reasons for the controversy surrounding fracking is based on sound facts or fiction – truths or myths – the fracking fashionistas won’t be packing up their protesting gear any time soon.