The Man Behind Your Favourite Fashion Shows Is Going Green

Photo: Arnold Jerocki/WireImage.
Rodarte’s acclaimed Autumn/Winter ‘20 collection was presented amidst a sea of flowers in St. Bartholomew’s Church, a Romanesque building on Park Avenue in Manhattan. The Tommy Hilfiger x Lewis Hamilton show turned the Tate Modern in London into a convincing hip-hop rave. Jacquemus held its spring ‘20 show smack-dab in the middle of a lavender field show in Provençe. Saint Laurent entertained showgoers with an Eiffel Tower-facing spring ‘20 show at Place du Trocadéro. Dior’s 2016 cruise show was hosted at “Palais Bulles,” the mid-century bubble house designed by renowned architect Antti Lovag.
There are certain fashion shows that are truly transportive, and it takes a master producer and set designer like Alexandre de Betak, and his team at Bureau Betak, to envision — and then execute — a ten-minute program that’ll have a lasting effect on people.
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As a creative leader in the space, de Betak’s latest announcement may influence the industry in a different way. On Tuesday morning, Business of Fashion released Bureau Betak’s ‘10 Commandments,’ a list of rules and regulations that the company will be following in an effort to reduce its carbon footprint.
In it, Bureau Betak promised to reuse materials, upcycle decor and set materials, eliminate the use of single-use plastic, incorporate water stations to cut down on single-use bottles, and provide responsible meals to minimize food waste. Crucially, de Betak has committed to reduce fossil fuel use by cutting down on non-essential travel and implementing an operational carbon compensation to PUR Project, which might mean a challenge to the industry’s tradition of hosting exotic destination shows. Additionally, de Betak is imposing a “1% Percent for the Planet” donation, which will give 1% of the company's revenue to a non-profit organisation in need.
De Betak was initially inspired to make this change after he realised just how sustainable the spring ‘20 Jacquemus was. “It was absolutely as low impact as can be,” de Betak told Business of Fashion. Using natural sunlight and easy-to-transport folding chairs, the show also mostly invited guests from Paris, rather than those from across the globe, which cut down on travel-based carbon emissions. “We really hoped it would help every designer and brand see you can do it like that,” de Betak said.
On top of the Commandments, de Betak is working to get certified for the International Organization for Standardization’s sustainable event management standard, which will require that his company follow a strict plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 25% by 2022, among other guidelines.
While de Betak might be the first runway producer to integrate sustainability pledges into his business, climate-focused initiatives are happening across the industry. Copenhagen Fashion Week released its sustainability action plan, a commitment that promises a 50% reduction in carbon footprint by 2022, and plans to develop digital solutions to minimise travel. Following Copenhagen’s lead, designer Richard Malone outlined his own sustainable objections via his runway show in London
Said de Betak, “I’ve worked all my life doing something that’s not good, but that’s behind me, and now I can use that to do good.”

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