On 7th September 2023, activists from the animal rights group PETA interrupted Coach’s runway show at New York Fashion Week, protesting against the use of leather in clothes. Two activists pretended to be models of the company’s Spring 2024 ready-to-wear collection and walked on the runway wearing protesting attires. One of the activists had her body painted to look like a skinned body (showing muscles and tendons) while the other held a “Coach leather kills” sign. The protesters were physically removed from the runway by security, but they made it about halfway around the room. The event took place at the New York Public Library Main Branch.
In a press release, PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman, said, “Today’s conscientious consumers know that the future of fashion lies in innovative vegan materials, not in cows’ sliced-off skin. PETA is shaking up Coach’s catwalk to drive home the message that leather belongs in the annals of history, not in designers’ current collections.”
Cows killed for leather may be skinned and dismembered while they’re still conscious, after they may have endured castration, tail-docking, and dehorning without any painkillers in the farm where they were bred. In 2016, PETA launched an exposé of the leather industry by investigating cow ranches in Brazil that supply JBS SA, the largest leather processor in the world. It showed how cows and bulls are abused before being killed so that their skins can be used to line car interiors. The investigation showed that, when cows are roughly three years old, the ranchers send them to JBS-owned abattoirs, and workers jabbed them around the anus with metal-tipped sticks and electric shock prods to force them onto the cramped lorries used to take them to slaughter.