Occupy Vogue Italia

[This was the cover story for the January 2021 issue of Vogue Italia. “The Animal Issue” launched a partnership between the magazine and WWF Italia, “with the aim of spreading greater awareness on the conservation of nature, habitats and endangered species through the print and digital channels of Vogue Italia.” I was honored at the opportunity to write the animal uprising story of my dreams, and to bring speculative fiction and climate insurrection to one of the most prestigious fashion publications on the planet!! For folks who don’t read Italian, I’m excited to share it here in the original English.]

You humans are such funny creatures. 

You create so many magnificent things. Soaring cathedrals; beautiful cities; profound art. And you are true chameleons, able to step out every day in a new pelt, a fresh bright set of feathers. 

But you also unleash such horrific devastation. 

Ancient forests clear-cut. Seas turned toxic. Air poisoned. 

That is why we have occupied Vogue Italia.  

We are the 99.99%. You humans only account for 0.01% of all life forms on earth, and yet you act as if you are the only ones. You destroy what nature has made, to exploit it for your own personal needs. 

This need not be a hostile takeover. We offer you our creativity, our inspiration. Our natural fashion sense. The wolf’s pelt, the zebra’s Abstract Expressionist stripes. Many of your most marvelous designers have long understood the synergy that can be achieved by bridging the gap between species. McQueen’s moth wings; Gaultier’s cicada; Gucci’s tiger stripes. 

Together we can create a planet full of beautiful things. On the cover and in the pages of this Occupied Vogue Italia we have shared examples. Object lessons in what we can do together. But true collaboration requires you to de-center yourself. Stop acting like we belong to you, like this whole planet is yours to plunder. 

Your current course of action is unacceptable. The consequences of your selfish way of life are more evident every day: wildfires that cover continents, sea levels rising to swallow nations, 150 species lost forever every day. 

You can’t live without us. But we can live without you. We already did, for 600 million years before you showed up. You’re the new model on the scene, one stunning creature in a runway show of millions. Stop acting like the diva supermodel whose ass everyone else should kiss. 

So we offer you our hand—our hoof—our paw—our claw, talon, fin, tentacle, pseudopod, flipper—in friendship. In creative partnership. 

This is a peaceful, non-violent occupation. For now. Our anarchist elements are open to initial dialogue before they riot in the streets. 

After all, it’s in all of our interests that the planet not be reduced to a burnt-out cinder. The only alternative to living together is dying together. 

We now return you to your regularly-scheduled Vogue Italia.