Models in Peta animal skins protest kick off London Fashion Week

A trio of lingerie-clad models kicked off London Fashion Week -  with a protest against the use of animal skins on the catwalk. 

The group stripped off into matching green underwear and crocodile masks before posing outside the show's main venue on the Strand in central London. 

Animal rights charity Peta, which organised the protest, is campaigning against the use of exotic animal skins in the fashion industry. 

It follows an investigation of crocodile farms which found animals were confined to pits and sometimes still alive when their skin was torn off, Peta said.

Peta spokeswoman Kirsty Henderson said: "We are here to remind people that crocodiles are not handbags - they are living, feeling beings.

"When they spend their entire lives on farms before having their throats cut, they suffer.

"You don't need the skin of crocodiles to make accessories, that's why we are calling on everyone from London Fashion Week to the public to leave the exotic skins on the shelf."

The investigation of crocodile farms in Vietnam is the latest in a number by the charity, which said it has exposed cruelty in reptile farms on three continents.

Five over-45s also strutted their stuff outside the main venue, The Store Studios, where fashion labels will showcase their latest creations.

The five models - including former page three girl Jilly Johnson, 63, and Janie Felstead, 65 - told London Fashion Week to "grow up" as part of a protest against ageism on the catwalk.

The group brandished signs which read "Fashion has no age limit" and "Too old to walk for LFW?" as they posed outside the building.

Johnson said it was "fantastic" that different ethnicities and disabilities were being represented on the runway but called for older models also to be used.

"Women don't suddenly stop wearing or buying clothes after their 20s, so why isn't this reflected in the models used in fashion shows?," she said.

The protest was organised by online retailer JD Williams.

London Fashion Week runs from February 17 - 21.

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