During the just-past AW20 fashion show circuit, top producer Alexandre de Betak made a seismic announcement: effective immediately, every runway, exhibition and event overseen by his agency Bureau Betak would be executed in accordance with the highest level of sustainability practices. The initiative, aimed at slashing CO2 emissions by 25 percent by 2021, will earn the agency ISO 20121 certification and ask that collaborators take some level of action, too: a ‘one percent for the planet’ contribution will be writ into each project contract and suppliers will be asked to comply with a Responsible Purchasing Charter.

De Betak’s announcement is a big – perhaps the biggest – promise to make for an agency that’s responsible for around 100 ephemeral events annually. Measures included in the pledge – or, ‘Ten Commandments’ and an evergreen manifesto – include the repurpose of 100 per cent of sets, recycle of 100 per cent of waste, use of clean energy, a cut-back on travel and the complete omission of single-use plastics. So it may have come as a surprise that at Bureak Betak’s production of Kenzo’s AW20 show, plastic was the star material. In fact, the set will be an enduring symbol of the agency’s commitment to the planet: the massive inflatable tubes, installed outdoors at the Institut National de Jeunes Sourds de Paris for Felipe Oliveira Baptista’s first Kenzo collection, will be reused ad infinitum in the brand’s shows, events and the like.

According to a spokesperson, Bureau Betak hopes to ‘lead by example’ with the initiative: the agency will also form a ‘Do Tank’ committee of environmental, fashion and luxury leaders, to develop awareness, encourage innovation and ultimately spur equivalent action. Next year, the team has set their sights on B CORP certification. ‘While this commitment marks a major shift in the entire cycle of a fashion event – factoring in upcycling/recycling of sets, energy use, backstage provisions, travel and distribution of post-show materials – it represents the inevitable progression of a business that has been conscious and ethically-minded for some time.’


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