Climate change activists created a "disruptive human washing line" in front of high-street retailers in Sutton to protest against waste in the fashion industry.

Extinction Rebellion campaigners gathered outside the St Nicholas Centre to raise awareness of 'fast fashion,' inexpensive clothing produced rapidly by mass-market retailers in response to the latest trends.

The 20 colourfully dressed participants engaged shoppers, drawing attention with a dramatic 'die in' lying on the pavement to make a point about the threat to life climate change poses.

A spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion said: "The fashion system is broken.

"Globally up to 150 billion pieces of clothing a year are produced (Forbes), taking a terrible toll on the planet and the people who make them.

"We are facing total ecological collapse, but the fashion industry continues to act as if this is not an emergency.

"Every second, the equivalent of one bin lorry of textiles is landfilled or burned, but 95% of discarded clothing can be recycled or upcycled

Sutton Council is expected to declare a climate and ecological emergency next week, setting the target of carbon neutrality by 2030, a move already made by 183 councils across the UK.

Total greenhouse gas emissions from textile production are estimated to total 1.2 billion tonnes annually, the second largest industrial polluter after oil according to Forbes.

Extinction Rebellion, which brought central London to a halt earlier this year, demands the Government "tells the truth" about climate change, taking significant steps to reverse policy and work alongside the media to communicate with the wider population.

The group demands legally binding policy measures are enacted to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2025 and to reduce consumption levels.

These changes should be overseen by a national Citizen's assembly, they say.

Yesterday's event follows two similar protests in Bristol and Cambridge last month.

Today the group launched a "summer uprising" in Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Leeds and London.

Protesters in each city are unveiling a large coloured boat, each named after an environmental activist, painted with the message “Act Now”.

The activists say they are staging a series of “creative acts of civil disobedience”, blocking specific locations, bridges and roads as well as holding talks, workshops, people’s assemblies and family-friendly activities.