It’s a trend that we will back, a hundred per cent

Runway shows don’t just cost a lot of money, they do a lot of harm to the environment too. For an event that lasts barely 15min, think of the carbon footprint attached to it: thousands of show invites, show notes in paper folders; cartons of plastic water bottles; trucks of flowers for VIPs and sometimes even walls of fresh flowers incorporated into the show set.

And let’s not forget the greenhouse gas emissions from the throngs of fashion editors travelling across continents to attend these shows.

While many fashion brands have become more environmentally sensitive in the production of their collections, Burberry has worked to make sure its runway show sings the same tune—a commendable step for the British brand as it aims to set an industry standard and lead the way for other fashion houses to do the same.

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Its autumn/winter 2020 runway show (which showed last week on February 17 during London Fashion Week) has been certified as carbon neutral, as it took several steps to both reduce and offset the carbon emissions tied to the event. 

At Burberry, we are passionate about creating real change in our industry to build a more sustainable future and I am proud that we can express this through our biggest brand moments like our runway shows.

- Pam Batty, vice president of corporate responsibility at Burberry

Tatler Asia


According to its announcements, the show was held in a  “certified sustainable” venue—an industrial ironwork hall in Olympia London with an arched ceiling.

Riccardo Tisci’s show, titled “Memories”, also prioritised electric vehicles, while forgoing all air freight.

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On top of that, the company will offset the remaining carbon emissions with a “savanna fire management project which works to reduce the risk of uncontrolled late dry season wildfires in Australia and mitigate damage caused to ecosystems”.

Gifting for show guests has also been replaced with a collaboration with social company PUR Projet and their local partners to plant trees (on behalf of guests) in Australia, and a bid to restore the damage caused by the recent Australian bushfire devastation.

It's heartening to hear Burberry’s commitment to usher in a more environmentally-friendly era, and that other fashion houses are also paying similar attention. 

At Milan Fashion Week, Gucci’s autumn/winter 2020 show (which was just two days after Burberry’s) did without traditional show invites; and sent out their invite through WhatsApp instead. 

(Related: Runway Shows Go On at Milan Fashion Week as Coronavirus Cases Spike in Italy

This Tuesday, at the Dior autumn/winter 2020 show during Paris Fashion Week, its oft-elaborate show set was replaced by one that was environmentally friendly. The giant structure, constructed on the fountain of the Jardin des Tuileries, was covered with 4,000 double pages of recycled newspaper, created by sought-after agency Bureau Betak, which has pledged to create exclusively sustainable work.

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If this is a bandwagon that the biggest shows are jumping onto, there is definitely hope that the rest will follow.