It’s the first day of London Fashion Week, but AW19 designs took the backseat on one catwalk. Community-led Justice4Grenfell, joined by some familiar faces, protested the long wait for justice for victims of the Grenfell fire disaster.
It has been almost two years since the tower block tragedy claimed the lives of 72 people, but the devastation lives on. 20 months later, and those affected are tired of waiting for any semblance of closure. Wearing protest t-shirts that ask, “72 DEAD AND STILL NO ARRESTS? HOW COME?”, members of Justice4Grenfell joined hands with Adwoa Aboah and musician Emeli Sande, alongside models Clara Paget and Heydon Prowse.
The effects of the fire were accelerated by the flammable cladding on the building’s exterior; its rapid reaction to the flames left little time for people to escape. This immense oversight meant the destruction was inevitable – yet hundreds of buildings carry similar cladding to this day.
Families of the victims are yet to be compensated for the negligence, and countless buildings still lack sprinkler systems – despite the advice of London Fire Brigade, and the Grenfell atrocity as a vital example of what can happen if safety is made second priority. The disaster could have been avoided – as could the potential for identical cases in the future – but still, no one has been held accountable.
Yvette Williams, the campaign co-ordinator, explained the group’s protest: “London Fashion week is a perennial event in the international calendar and highlights the world talent, creativity and inspiration in our diverse city. The fire at Grenfell Tower is the unfashionable side of London where 72 people needlessly lost their lives. Their deaths will not be in vain. We are honoured to be part of LFW that will assist our campaign in keeping a global focus on what happened at Grenfell and to support the bereaved families in their continued fight for truth and justice.”
The t-shirt slogan echoes a statement made by the group last year; referencing Martin McDonagh’s 2017 film Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, equivalent billboards were erected, plastered with the same desperate question, “71 DEAD AND STILL NO ARRESTS? HOW COME?”
Show your support for the cause by sharing photos of the take over with the hashtag #Justice4Grenfell