Private Drama Events discusses its history and recent work with a Fashion Week.

In 2018, the events industry generated £42.3 billion to the UK economy in terms of direct spend by delegates, attendees and organisers, an 8% increase on the previous year (source Eventbrite).

Private Drama Events creates luxury experiences and was established in 2002 by husband and wife team Adam Blackwood and Nicola King, the company is the industry leader for producing high-profile events for the luxury end of the market.

From weddings in Cap Antibes to launching retail destinations, it is their next project, One Young World – a global summit for future young leaders (Meghan Markle is a patron), where Blackwood has turned his attention to sustainability and how to create and end-to-end event based on the core principles of recycling, upcycling and reusability.

Adam Blackwood, founder and creative director Private Drama Events said: “We operate in an environment and atmosphere of creating one-off luxury experiences. Each event is carefully curated for a very specific client and for many brands and companies we have a new story to tell each time.

“Typically we start the creative process from scratch which means scouting for a new location, new branding, new set dressing, new props, new costumes, the list goes on. In the planning stage we began to notice the rising impact of waste with many elements in the process not having a life after the event. We shifted our perspective on this issue and felt it was time to start looking at sustainability more closely and not become part of the problem.

“Naturally we started small, banning all single-use plastic at events and sourcing partners who shared our vision for reducing waste. We found this was easy to accomplish as our clients were also doing the same.

“With One Young World we wanted to approach sustainability with an end-to-end approach and to create solutions at every stage of the creative process and to recycle, upcycle and reuse where it was available. While we were creating the performance elements to One Young World – that is, the World Opening and Closing Ceremonies in London, we wanted to collaborate with fashion designers who also cared about sustainability and its impact.”

A light was recently shone on the issue of sustainability in the fashion industry with 32 leading fashion companies – from Chanel to Zara – signing The Fashion Pact, a non-legally binding agreement to combat greenhouse gases and emphasise sustainability in the industry.

Blackwood added: “We wanted to collaborate with fashion designers who only worked in sustainable practices.  We were thrilled to discover Patrick McDowell and Phoebe English, both graduates of Central St Martins and advocates for sustainable and ethical fashion practices who will design costumes for over two hundred performance artists in One Young World.  This has had a huge impact on our mission to reduce waste and recycle and upcycle where possible.  It also delivers on our mission to build a luxury events company with sustainability at the core of what we do.”

Ella Robertson, managing director International One Young World added: “We are so inspired by our work with Private Drama Events, whose creative approach in imbuing events with sustainability is industry-leading. It is so right that our London Summit is bringing this issue of fashion sustainability to the forefront – fashion is one of the world’s most challenging industries when it comes to carbon emissions and ethical labour so it’s great to be showcasing British young leaders like Patrick McDowell and Phoebe English whose immense talents are helping to address these critical issues.”

Patrick McDowell is a graduate of Central Saint Martins. His designs are crafted from reclaimed fabrics, organic yarns and ethically produced materials and designed and made in England. He is a strong advocate for reducing fashion’s global impact through designing with moral practice.

His final year collection gained sponsorship from the British Fashion Council, Swarovski, Burberry and Oakley and he has now launched his own eponymous collection.  With One Young World, McDowell will design and produce sustainable costumes for all two hundred performing artists for the World Opening Ceremony using reclaimed fabrics.

Patrick McDowell, British Fashion Designer added: “Private Drama Events approached me to create sustainably made costumes for their performers at this important youth summit. The idea was to design a ‘look’ that captured the spirit and diversity of their young London ensemble and to contribute to the changes being made to the British fashion industry by young people.”

Additionally, Blackwood also reached out to Phoebe English, a Central St Martin’s alumni and a well recognised advocate for sustainability in fashion. Established over eight years ago, the V&A now holds part of her archive within their permanent fashion collection. Phoebe English has actively pursued environmental and practice change within the fashion industry. Recently, she has supported the UK Environmental Audit Committee by submitting evidence to help inform new legislation with the UK government to improve sustainability within the UK fashion industry. English will produce a completely sustainably sourced costume made from reclaimed and recycled materials for the Aerial Artist who will perform during the Closing Ceremony. This bespoke piece will be an ethereal costume, requiring intricate construction for movement.

Phoebe English added: “Myself and my team are looking forward to developing this special finale piece for Private Drama Events, and we are especially pleased to have the opportunity to develop a performance outfit for the One Young World Closing Ceremony within the sustainable frameworks that we work on our own collections.”