Live From The Red Carpet At Occupy Fashion Week…With All 5 Protesters Who Showed Up
6:00 pm, February 16th | by Hillary Reinsberg
We talked to nearly every protester who showed up at the Calvin Klein fashion show today, in Occupy Wall Street’s attempt to occupy fashion week on its last day. Talking to all of them wasn’t too difficult, since only five or six made it. The plan had been to march up to 39th Street, where the show was taking place, and try to get attendees to paint their faces red for the 2 p.m. show. If that didn’t work out, they’d try to shut down the second 3 p.m. show. Calvin Klein took notice and heightened security, and the media was ready and watching. As you’ll see, things didn’t exactly go according to plan.
When we got here around 2 p.m., guests for the first show were being shuffled inside. These two guys were the only protesters there. One was wearing face paint, which was supposed to represent pepper spray. The man on the left, Felix Rivera-Pitre, told us that most people didn’t make it because of the weather, or so he thought.
“A lot of us are living in squats that do not even have heat or water. The weather has kept a lot of people. We’re having a hard time as it is and I am not going to hold it against nobody,” he told us.
Rivera-Pitre has been protesting at Zucotti Park since September 24, just a week after Occupy Wall Street got started. Though he was protesting the Calvin Klein show, he’s actually a fan of fashion. That collar is real fox fur! He said it saved his life by keeping him warm for the winter. Good thing PETA wasn’t protesting the show too! To be fair: it was a gift.
Rivera-Pitre wanted to protest the fashion world’s elitism. “Everyone is stuck paying these ridiculously high prices, that I have paid myself sometimes for high quality clothes. But I cannot always afford it,” he said. “Thousands of people want to be in the industry but only the less than 1 percent elite group gets to make it in.”
Around 2:30, some more protesters showed up. The original plan was to try to get 99 guests of the 2 p.m. show to wear red makeup like Rivera-Pitre’s. Clearly, that didn’t happen. Anna Wintour didn’t think it would be a great look, we’re guessing. A bit later, the fashion types shuffled out. One very tall man walked out of the show and said “bless you,” but other than that, there was no interaction. Worth noting: The street style photographers were not interested in the protesters, boho-chic as they may have been.
The protesters had originally said that if they failed to get 99 people to wear makeup, they’d try to shut down the second show at 3 p.m. That didn’t happen either. “Calvin Klein didn’t get scared,” Justin Stone-Diaz, the protester pictured here in the owl hat, told us. He did claim that Occupy had a group of supporters inside the event. “We have 15 activists inside the show and they’re going to do something, but we’re not sure what. It’s not an Occupy Wall Street group, but they’re with us in solidarity.” He said he really didn’t know more than that, other than that they might do a mic check during the second show at 3 p.m. They didn’t.
A source who attended the show tells Out that they overheard some chatter about the show “turning a blind eye to the destruction of our nation, and supporting a culture of consumerism and elitism,” but assured the presentation was completed “without a hitch as far as I could tell.”
Stone-Diaz also had a different explanation for why so few protesters showed up: “We had a bus load of people coming down from Albany, but something happened to the bus.”
Off to the side was protester Karin Hofmann, who knits clothing to keep protesters warm. She said she was protesting the event because it exemplified “the excesses of the 1 percent. It’s a lot of money being spent while we have hungry, homeless, not-clothed people. They’re celebrating riches beyond belief.”