Male consumers are seeking brands and retailers that embrace enlightened attitudes towards masculinity and reject stereotypes through more representative product. We break down the three key opportunities that cater to the diverse needs of this lucrative market.
Welcome To Wellness
Menswear brands have been slow on the wellness uptick, but a consumer-led movement for male mindfulness presents a huge opportunity for fresh activewear and lifestyle product. From wellness-focused collaborations, to emerging brands prioritising emotional health instead of competitiveness – the previously female-dominated space is changing.
- Inclusive Influencers: Industry conversations around wellness may be quick to omit the male voice, but consumer-led collectives are reshaping this once exclusive space for all.
Now rather than get fit or run faster, my goal is to become a better person.
Washington DC-based Nike Yoga model Brandon Copeland is the founder of Khepera Wellness – an inclusive yoga studio that seeks to encourage the representation of black men in the wellness industry. Copeland’s unique classes include Trap Yoga and R&B Restoration, which combine traditional yoga practices with contemporary soundtracks.
Atlanta-based Danny Fluker is the founder of Black Boys OM, a non-profit dedicated to healing black boys and men through yoga and meditation. As well as providing a space for self-care, the global collective aims to transform the negative stereotypes of black men.
- New Thinkers: California-based brand District Vision offers tools and lifestyle hacks to help athletes practice mindfulness. Alongside its sportswear range, the brand produces a wellness-focused podcast for runners, and hosts events that combine sport and meditation – both are part of its aim to promote physical fitness as a lifestyle.
Shape and Size
While an all-inclusive outlook may have infiltrated every level of the womenswear market, diversity in male body types remains limited. From stifled and outdated product ranges to hegemonic campaigns and advertising – the time to represent this $1bn industry is now.
- Real Representation: There was just one plus-size model during the S/S 18 men’s catwalk season, indicating the lack of size diversity and representation in the industry. Seeking to fill this gap, plus-size menswear influencer Darnel Ghramm recreated the iconic Calvin Klein advertisements with ‘Big and Tall’ male models as part of his #WeAreBigAndTall project – an approach that brands could easily incorporate.
Advertising isn’t just a reflection of trends, it can also shape them. Men and women compare themselves to these – often ruthlessly manipulated – images of ‘flawless bodies’ that don’t exist. And failure to live up to them is unavoidable, because they are based on a level of perfection that is impossible.
- An Extended Opportunity: In August 2018, Old Navy brought plus-size menswear into stores. And this March, clothing subscription service Stitch Fix expanded its menswear offering to include over 800 different size and fit combinations.
British underwear brand Box & Scandal launched a campaign to fight unrealistic body image representations in May 2019. The brand’s diverse ad campaign featured a range of body types and ethnicities, with a message that noted the effect under-representation can have on mental health.
Despite these advancements, the market for size-diverse, trend-led menswear remains hugely limited, with mid-range brands in particular missing an opportunity. Male shoppers are willing to invest: almost 20% of men spend £100 ($127) per shopping trip compared to just 12% of women (Fashion Beans, 2018). Shrewd brands would do well to ensure the market is served with size-inclusive options.
Changing perceptions of masculinity and gender have been at the fore of the luxury menswear market and wider society, with 79% of men claiming the traditional definition of masculinity has to change (The Book of Man, 2018). Now, emerging high-end designers are reinventing menswear, paving the way for a fresh and less restrictive outlook for men’s fashion.
- Emerging Aesthetics: Young designers are leading the charge by presenting collections that challenge traditional notions of masculinity, or forgo gender all together.
I wanted to create an in-between where the guy is masculine, but still has a feminine edge to him. The kind of guy that usually gets missed out. You see him on the street, but never on the runway. That’s who I want to put forward in my menswear.”
London-based designer Bianca Saunders uses her unique perspective to interrogate the boundaries of black masculinity. While Saul Nash, the newest member of non-profit fashion initiative Fashion East, enmeshes his dance and design background to present his vision of the modern sensitive man.
Elsewhere, fashion house Palomo Spain renders the fits of dramatic gowns and jackets in styles traditionally associated with cisgender women to suit male bodies.
- The Mid-Level Opportunity: In August 2018, US-based menswear e-tailer Bonobos launched its #EvolveTheDefinition campaign, which sought to expand the traditional (and outdated) definition of masculinity. The luxury industry may be pioneering the progressive attitude to gender-free dressing and modern masculinity, but the missing gap at mid and high-street level presents an opportunity. These brands should follow the luxury market, and move away from regressive intepretations of androgyny towards more diverse representation and products.
Sentiment-Reading M-Commerce Tech
Canadian start-up NexTech has collaborated with Microsoft’s AI cloud-computing service Azure on software to humanise the e-commerce experience – by turning smartphone cameras into sentiment-judging tools. With this facial-recognition-fuelled tech, retailers will be able to recalibrate and individualise on-screen prompts and nudges.
Eighty-one per cent of US adults now own a smartphone (PewResearch, 2019), and m-commerce sales are predicted to account for more than 50% of all e-commerce sales by 2021 (99firms.com, 2019). With consumers becoming increasingly wedded to their digital devices, the value of more sophisticated m-commerce analysis and communication tools is rising rapidly.
In response, NexTech has upgraded its augmented reality (AR)-powered solution for e-tailers, which allows consumers to virtually try on products (beauty or sunglasses) by simply looking into a laptop or smartphone camera with emotion-sensing tech. Repurposing the front-facing smartphone lens (consumers have to opt in), NexTech’s Microsoft AI-infused technology can analyse consumers’ facial expressions every few seconds, subsequently creating on-screen prompts. A positive reaction (currently set to smiling) triggers ‘add to cart’, while a negative reaction activates a fresh set of recommendations to choose from.
Retailers have access to a dashboard that allows them to customise these prompts – such as by defining which action should follow which facial expressions. The AI-powered insights can then be used for personalised retargeting campaigns.
NexTech’s plug-and-play AR/AI solution can be integrated into retailers' apps and websites via a simple code. It’s compatible with e-commerce platforms Shopify, WordPress and Magneto, used by brands including beauty label Kylie Cosmetics and Canadian backpack brand Herschel Supply, and costs about $79 per month.
See also Emotional Retail Engagement, Reflexive Retail in our Liquid Retail Spotlight, CES 2018 x Retail: Emotion-Tracking VR Headset, and Facial Recognition Tech: 2018 Could be Crunch Year.
Weekly Thought-Starter #029: The New Space Age
Fifty years after man first walked on the Moon, the space race has been reignited. Manned space flights are back on the agenda, and the first commercial space journeys are very much on the horizon.
This new space age is already giving rise to out-of-this-world opportunities. Brands aren’t just embracing futurity; they’re applying space flight research to earthly problems like sustainability and mental health.
Italian furniture brand Driade, for example, has created lunar versions of its most iconic outdoor pieces – each 3D-printed using a sand similar to regolith, the material found on the surface of Mars.
Remember Gen Lonely? Could their isolation be alleviated by space flight research? Well, US digital therapy company EverMind is exploring this possibility. Its core product – based on studies into the management of space-induced psychosocial problems – gives users personalised, interactive cognitive behavioural therapy via a virtual therapist.
What about actual space travel? It may be out of reach for all but the ultra-rich, but the concept of private individuals travelling into space – in style – is entirely new. The prospect is already inspiring products and designs that reflect a new world of possibilities.
From zero-gravity-friendly champagne to luxurious habitats that resemble “a comfortable egg”, we reveal what these innovations look like in The New Space Age, our recent Consumer Attitudes report.
Speak to the possibilities of manned space flight and your business, too, could inspire a new generation that’s not just looking towards worlds beyond our own, but may actually reach them.
As masculinity is redefined, gender fluidity becomes more commonplace and interest in wellbeing soars. We explore the increasing opportunities across the men’s health and grooming market – a category predicted to reach $78.6bn globally by 2023 (Research & Markets, 2018).
- $78.6bnThe global male grooming market is predicted to be worth $78.6bn by 2023
- $29bnThe US male grooming market is predicted to be worth $29bn by 2024
- $4.2tnThe global wellness industry is worth $4.2tn and is growing twice as fast as the global economy
- 40%Forty per cent of adults aged 18 to 22 have shown interest in gender-neutral beauty products
- 64%The percentage of US men using facial skincare products
- $123mUS men’s prestige skincare sales grew 9% to $123m in 2018
- 23%Wellness platform Goop’s audience is 23% male
- 32%Beard product sales have grown by 32% in the past four years
- 32%Thirty-two per cent of UK men agree that it’s important for grooming products to feature natural or organic ingredients
- 50%Fifty per cent of UK men agree it is hard to know what ingredients to look for in skincare products
- 85%The percentage of American men affected by hair loss by the age of 50, with 66% experiencing hair loss by the age of 35
- 9.6%The global vitamins, minerals, and nutritional and herbal supplements market is predicted to grow 9.6% between 2016 and 2024
Masculinity: A Shifting Perspective
With changing perceptions around masculinity, grooming and self-care are no longer purely reserved for the metrosexual man.
With the success of shows like Queer Eye, men’s grooming is becoming something of a phenomenon. Average men are being brought into the conversation about personal care rituals, and stigmas are being broken as more people discuss the topic.
- Big Brands Tackle Masculinity: In the wake of third-wave feminism and the #MeToo movement, male grooming brands are pivoting their approach and using their platforms to tackle issues such as toxic masculinity.
Procter & Gamble’s Gillette released a well-intentioned short film called Believe in January 2019. While it divided opinion on social media, the advert encouraged men to replace negative masculine behaviour – such as bullying, sexual harassment and aggression – with more positive behaviour. It went viral, amassing two million YouTube views within 48 hours of being posted. “By holding each other accountable, eliminating excuses for bad behaviour, and supporting a new generation working toward their personal ‘best’, we can help create positive change that will matter for years to come,” Gary Coombe, president of P&G Grooming, told the BBC.
New York-based direct-to-consumer shaving brand Harry’s took a softer approach with a February 2019 advert starring English footballer Harry Kane, called I Am Not Afraid. “I am not afraid to lead, I am not afraid to be criticised, to ask for help, to tell my daughters I love them. I am not afraid to be myself and if that makes me different, I’ll choose different every time,” Kane says in the clip.
- Gender Fluidity: As discussed in The Male Beauty Moment, the strict division between grooming (just for men) and beauty (just for women) is dissipating; more brands are identifying as genderless and offering unisex products. As Asos demonstrated, via its June 2018 beauty rebrand, it’s often a question of semantics. The e-tailer renamed the category for beauty and grooming to Face + Body, not specifying whether products are for a particular gender.
Rethinking Skincare: Green, Clean & Caring
Skincare options for men are increasing as brands take cues from the women’s market. “As wellness continues to grow it really positions beauty and grooming as a part of a healthy lifestyle, rather than something extra that only vain people care about,” said Jillian Wright, founder of Indie Beauty Expo.
- Clean & Green Skincare: The growth of natural and organic beauty has catalysed women’s categories, but that is changing – 32% of UK men agree that it’s important for grooming products to feature natural or organic ingredients (Mintel, 2018).
New Zealand-based Triumph & Disaster, founded by ex-cricketer Dion Nash, is a skincare brand for men that “uses the best of science combined with the best of nature”. Using a mixture of natural ingredients – such as horopito oil, ponga fern extract and jojoba extract – the range includes skincare staples for face, body and hair. “There is no longer a barrier to entry. Men can take their time, educate themselves, ask questions and get the answers they need, this builds confidence and interest in the category,” Nash told Stylus.
British brand Heath preaches a similar natural ethos, as does Hong Kong-based Vitruvian Man, which is dedicated to bringing the benefits of natural and organic beauty to men. Its latest launch, an Anti-Pollution Cleanser, doubles as a pollution-busting toner to unclog pores. Hero ingredients, such as ginger root and nut grass root juice, simultaneously cleanse and hydrate the skin.
- Skincare as Self-Care: “As traditional and outdated notions attached to masculinity have started to be questioned and reimagined, more men have begun to embrace practices like self-care, which were once viewed as feminine,” commented Laura Hill, senior editor at wellness news site, Welltodo.
With 64% of American men using facial skincare products (Mintel, 2018), brands are capitalising on this self-care movement by introducing additional categories. Beast, a London store dedicated to premium men’s grooming, now stocks eight different masks for men. Social media has helped to normalise these rituals: face masks soared in popularity following images shared by celebrities such as US actor Chris Pratt.
Today’s consumers are looking to align themselves with brands that mirror their own values and empower them to contribute more positively to social change.
- Sustainable Shaving: Brands are introducing planet-friendly options to entice the growing numbers of eco-minded consumers, and stand out in an increasingly crowded market.
British skincare and shaving brand Bulldog launched a razor with a bamboo handle and replaceable blades as a plastic-free alternative in 2018. While earlier this year, Gillette announced a partnership with TerraCycle – the US-based private recycling company – which allows customers to recycle their used razors.
- Brands with Purpose: With conscious consumers aware of greenwashing practices, indie brands must take sustainability a step further to cut through.
UK-based The Lost Explorer, a unisex wellness and lifestyle brand founded by explorer David Mayer de Rothschild, invests 100% of its net profits into accelerating a cultural shift towards celebrating nature. “Our for-profit model invests its financial revenue into social benefit in order to have a more direct impact on nature. It’s a new form of corporate consciousness,” de Rothschild told Stylus. “There is a growing sentiment that people want to buy products that they believe are giving back to a cause. Their purchase of a product becomes a statement of their values and a small way they can make a donation to causes they believe in,” de Rothschild added.
- Increased Inclusivity: As demonstrated by the shade-matching arms race in the women’s market, brands are increasingly trying to tout a more inclusive offering. Currently, the men’s market lags behind when it comes to diversity and options for men of colour.
US-based Ceylon Skincare, the first dermatologically focused skincare brand developed with men of colour in mind, aims to create an inclusive culture around men’s health and wellness. “The vast majority of brands didn’t actually put our community at the centre of their development process, and only used our faces in their marketing as a way to convince people like us to buy,” co-founder Patrick Boateng II told men’s lifestyle site Very Good Light. The products are formulated to hydrate melanin-rich skin and keep it clear without bleaching effects.
Millennial-Friendly Men’s Wellness
Twenty-three per cent of wellness platform Goop’s audience is male (Goop, 2019) – and as demonstrated by its Goopfellas podcast, movements such as UK-based Boys of Yoga, and the recent collaboration between Lululemon and German menswear designer Robert Geller, men’s health and wellness is on the rise.
- Repackaging Hair Loss: “Wellness, a movement spearheaded and largely dominated by women, has been increasingly turning its attention to the men’s market. A band of disruptive start-ups are repackaging common health concerns via aspirational and straight-talking messaging,” Hill commented.
Keeps, the US-based hair loss start-up, targets men via modern marketing. “Education is a core part of our mission. We aim to empower our customers by providing a better understanding of their symptoms and management methods,” said co-founder Steven Gutentag. Simultaneously, social media has played a significant role in the brand’s growth. “By creating content specifically for social media and engaging with customers directly on their platform of choice, we’re able to make those human connections that are so often missing from the healthcare experience,” Gutentag explained.
Hims, a personal care and wellness brand, offers the millennial audience products for hair loss and erectile dysfunction. The brand wants to change the conversation about common, yet taboo, issues. “There are still some men’s health issues which can make men feel insecure. We want to work to help eradicate the stigma,” Andrew Dudum, founder and chief executive of Hims, told Stylus. “We like to talk to guys in a really straightforward way but also with wit and humour. Through this, we are normalising the conversation and making men feel reassured that there are solutions to their problems, and that it’s totally cool to be dealing with these very common issues,” Dudum added. To read more about the brand, see Hims: Reframing Male Hair Loss.
- Supplements 2.0: The global vitamins, minerals, and nutritional and herbal supplements market is predicted to increase by 9.6% between 2016 and 2024 (Grand View Research, 2018). As the supplement market continues to grow, brands must find innovative ways to appeal to consumers.
Tapping into the wider trend for personalisation, bespoke supplement plans are on the rise. US-based start-up Care/of is pioneering this trend and appealing to time-poor, health-conscious consumers. Customers fill out an extensive questionnaire about their health, lifestyle and preferences, and are then given a tailor-made supplement plan.
Care/of speaks to the growing number of indie brands aiming to change the conversation around gender-prescriptive product. By not directing product specifically at any gender, wellness is democratised across gender barriers.
Are Psychedelics the Next Cannabis?
Two US cities – Denver and Oakland – have both recently decriminalised psilocybin (aka magic) mushrooms. This development signals that psychedelics are following the trajectory of cannabis; once seen as counterculture, but increasingly embraced for their therapeutic and even spiritual benefits. We examine investors and consumers already exploring their potential.
In 2017, we identified rising interest in hallucinogenics for improving mental health in our Modern Mysticism report, and noted Silicon Valley’s uptake of microdosing psychedelics for creativity and concentration in Career Pioneers. Meanwhile, millennials – blending ancient rituals with self-care and spiritualism (see Fashion’s Nu Spiritualists) – haven taken to the traditional Amazonian psychedelic ayahuasca (now also decriminalised in Oakland), along with peyote.
Michael Pollan’s 2018 book How to Change Your Mind – exploring psychedelics’ potential to alter consciousness and treat end-of-life anxiety, addiction and depression – is a prominent endorsement of the trend: the US author helped kickstart the clean-eating movement. His book is currently rising up the New York Times bestseller list.
Devoted to examining psychedelics through a contemporary lens, LA-based publication Double Blind recently printed its first issue. The editors believe that by healing through mystical experiences, psychedelics could “shift how the Western medical community perceives wellness more broadly”.
In the pharmaceutical sphere, British drug company Compass Pathways is testing a psilocybin therapy for depression which has been fast-tracked by the US Federal Drug Administration. And appealing wellness retreats are opening to facilitate psychedelic experiences. Synthesis in the Netherlands, launched in 2018, expects to see 600-700 clients for its three-day psilocybin retreats this year.
Speaking on a cannabis panel at last month’s Collision conference in Toronto, American venture capitalist Bradley Tusk said that whilst it’s still super-early, he’s starting to explore opportunities to invest in psilocybin.
As cannabis goes mainstream, we’re keeping an eye on the Experimentalist consumers identified in Stylus’ 2019 Consumer Zodiac – an open-minded demographic that’s smashing old taboos – as they push into more challenging territory.
Anyone, Anywhere, Anytime: The Future of Gaming from E3 2019
By far the biggest attention-grabber at the 2019 E3 expo in Los Angeles (11-13th June), US actor Keanu Reeves revealed his involvement in the already hotly anticipated dystopian roleplay game Cyberpunk 2077. However, announcements regarding the future infrastructure of how games are accessed is likely to have the biggest impact on the power and reach of the sector.
Industry giants Sony and Microsoft as well as Google itself are readying themselves for the arrival of 5G mobile internet by setting up cloud gaming networks. These systems will break down the many accessibility barriers of the old industry model, which called for gamers to update dedicated and costly hardware every couple of years.
With infrastructure set up so that anyone could log into a high-end game, anytime, on any personal mobile device, the reach of these sprawling interactive communities will explode. As noted in our Gamescom 2018 report, bringing high-end gaming to mobile devices via cloud-streaming services would add around two billion screens to the infrastructure.
Where there's streaming, there's subscriptions. From Microsoft's Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, to developer and publisher Ubisoft's Uplay+, to the much-discussed Google Stadia, every corner of the gaming industry is working to become the Netflix of interactive entertainment. How this will impact game creators' incomes remains to be seen – but with changes in monetisation systems come tremendous opportunities for any brand to forge marketing partnerships.
For more on the diverse and dynamic engagement strategies taking hold in this huge market, check out The State of Esports.
Solar Panels Turn Pollution into Food
Scientists at London start-up Arboreal have conceived a way to reduce CO2 levels in polluted cities using bio-solar panels, whilst simultaneously producing next-gen nutrition.
The BioSolar Leaf system facilitates plant growth, such as microalgae and phytoplankton, on solar panels. Through photosynthesis, algae convert solar energy and CO2 into breathable oxygen. Each panel absorbs the same amount of carbon dioxide as 100 trees per day.
The algae can then be harvested as an antioxidant-rich plant-based food source. Gram for gram, spirulina – a common form of algae – has more calcium than milk, more beta-carotene than carrots and more protein than meat.
This new way of producing algae, which is being piloted on the rooftop of Imperial College London's new campus, is less expensive to execute than laboratory-based production and results in higher quality algae.
Julian Melchiorri, chief executive and founder of Arboreal, said of the invention: "My goal was to tackle climate change while addressing critical issues related to the food system. This pilot plant will produce sustainable healthy food additives while purifying the air, producing oxygen and removing carbon dioxide from the surrounding environment."
This multifunctional bio-solution is an exciting evolution in the mission to turn cityscapes into climate-friendlier spaces.
Adventure-seeking millennial travellers are spending less on accommodation and more on experiences, dining and Instagram-worthy moments. Responding to this mindset, savvy hospitality operators are offering flexible micro-rooms, updated motels and next-gen hostel concepts that deliver the most bang for their buck.
- 64%Searches for ‘budget travel’ on Pinterest were up 64% year-over-year in January 2019
- $675Millennials spent an average of $675 on accommodation during their most recent trip, whilst baby boomers spent approximately twice as much ($1,540)
- 35Millennials typically go away for 35 nights a year, the most of any generation
- 60%In the UK, millennials will set aside more than 60% of their travel budget to spend on experiences
- 60%Nearly six out of ten millennial travellers have taken at least one road trip during the past 12 months
- $6.2bnThe global hostel scene is set to boom, growing from an estimated $5.5bn in 2017 to $6.2bn by 2020
- Nifty Spaces: Hotel brands are conjuring up spatial concepts that appeal to millennials who spend minimal time inside their guestrooms. "Millennials are used to a fast-paced life and this continues when they travel. Hotels become less important because time spent relaxing in the room is far from the focus of the trip," says Tyler Protano-Goodwin, marketing manager UK holiday company Audley Travel.
Hilton's new sub-brand Motto by Hilton takes inspiration from the boutique end of the hostel sector. Its space-saving rooms come with loft and bunk beds as well as beds that double as modular sofas. Room temperature, lighting and electric window shades are controlled via an app, and guests have access to high-speed WiFi. The first Motto property opens in London in 2020, followed by outposts in Boston, Dublin and Lima.
- Similarly, Japanese luxury hotel group Hoshino Resorts' affordable new Omo5 Tokyo hotel is inspired by yagura – a type of Japanese wooden scaffolding. Its 125 minimalist rooms are constructed from cedar wood frames with raised sleeping areas and traditional tatami flooring. Guests can sign up to 'ranger' tours ($6) with local experts, who accompany them to hidden cultural sites and under-the-radar restaurants and bars.
- Meanwhile, in March 2019, UK budget hotel chain Premier Inn opened its first Zip by Premier Inn hotel, a new ultra-affordable hospitality concept. The 8.5 sq m rooms – conceived by PriestmanGoode, a British design consultancy that specialises in aircraft interiors – are half the size of the operator's standard lodgings. All rooms come with an ensuite bathroom and adjustable light box to simulate natural light. Rates start at £19 ($22) per night.
- Roadside Reinvented: Recognising that nearly 60% of American millennials took at least one road trip last year (MMGY Global, 2019), opportunistic hospitality brands are looking to reinvent the roadside.
Hotel and members' club Soho House has opened Mollie's Motel & Diner, the first of a series of affordable hospitality spaces located alongside the motorway in Oxfordshire (as covered here). Inspired by 50s Americana culture, the establishment features a diner, drive-thru, general store and co-working space. Its 79 rooms (£70 per night) display luxury touches associated with the brand, such as toiletries from Soho House's spa brand Cowshed, Egyptian cotton sheets and rainforest showerheads.
- Meanwhile, Austin's Bunkhouse hotel group recently acquired and renovated San Francisco's Phoenix Hotel, a 50s motel historically frequented by stars like David Bowie and Kurt Cobain. As such, the upgraded space is inspired by travelling musicians, featuring wood panelling, record players, vintage furniture, retro rock concert posters and neon lighting. The outpost hosts regular pool parties with live bands and DJs.
Similarly, in May 2019, Canadian boutique hotel group The Drake opened Drake Motor Inn, a 50s-themed roadside hotel in Ontario. The motel, which is covered in vintage art and hosts photography exhibitions, loans out bikes and polaroid cameras to adventure-seeking guests.
- Hostels Shift Gear: Galvanised by budget-conscious, community-minded millennials, the global hostel scene is predicted to boom, growing from $5.5bn in 2017 to $6.2bn by 2020 (PhocusWright, 2018). This opportunity is catching the eye of investors – in 2018, French real estate investment company Foncière des Régions allocated around €400m ($450m) to invest in European hostels.
Hostel brands are attracting millennials by offering Instagram-ready design features and unique experiences. Bangkok's Kloem Hostel, which opened in late 2018, enables guests to decorate the space around their bunk to help them feel at home. Guests can request potted plants, fish bowls and bamboo table lamps when they check in.
- In the same year, Portuguese port brand Sandeman's opened The House of Sandeman hostel in Porto. The lodgings are port-themed too: it's located in an 18th-century wine cellar and the bunk beds are constructed from wine barrels. For an extra fee, guests can experience wine and port tastings and vineyard tours.
For Gen Z teens, maintaining a positive, balanced lifestyle is more important than losing a few pounds or hitting the gym. Mental health and identity are key drivers behind a movement towards progressive, holistic wellbeing. Building on themes seen in 10 Wellbeing Trends to Watch, we highlight the opportunities for brands to engage this diverse cohort.
- $145bnGen Z will be responsible for an estimated $145bn in direct spending by 2020
- 154mThe most-followed Instagram account as of January 2019 is run by footballer Cristiano Ronaldo, with 154 million followers
- 32%Gen Z will surpass millennials in 2019 as the most populous generation, comprising roughly 32% of the population
- 75%Three-quarters of students said managing stress and mental health is their biggest health and wellness concern
- 65%Gen Z is the most active generation, with 65% at least casually active
- 92%The percentage of Gen Zers who think it’s important to incorporate exercise into their weekly routines
- 35%Gen Z make up 35% of global gym attendees
- 78%Seventy-eight per cent of US teens exercise at least once a week
- £700bnThe global health and wellness market is expected to reach nearly £700bn ($879) by 2021
Gen Z are stressed. In fact, 91% say they’ve felt physical or emotional symptoms, such as depression and anxiety, associated with stress (American Psychological Association, 2018). But they have already made the connection between being active and being happy, with 65% stating they are at least casually active (Physical Activity Council, 2018).
- Work Out Your Stress: According to recent research on how physical activity influences mood, people who work out once a week – even for as little as 10 minutes a day – tend to be happier than those who never exercise (Psychology Today, 2018).
Millennial and Gen Z-minded content platform Refinery29 got 2019 off to an active start with its ‘joyful movement’ campaign. The 21-day plan included activities such as walking, jump rope and trampolining to help readers try new sports, get their bodies moving, and start the new year with a cheerful outlook.
- Mindful Moments: Consistent mindfulness meditation practice can help reduce anxiety, depression, stress and pain. This has led to the rise of fitness activities which focus on the mind as well as the body.
- Last year, London fitness space Frame launched its HIIT and Chill class. Speed and strength movements are followed by a cool-down meditation sound bath. Cult LA gym Knockout similarly offers emotionally supportive classes such as confidence-boosting dance workouts, meditation and workshops to address career troubles within the gym space. There is a distinct gap in the market for fitness brands and gyms to address teen-specific issues, such as school and puberty stresses.
- Charities are also supporting the cross-pollination of mental and physical fitness. Last summer, UK men's mental health charity Humen partnered with Barry's Bootcamp to deliver a HIIT class and mental health discussion. Money raised from the event went towards Humen’s Gym for the Mind campaign, which aims to make men “feel more human”.
- Active Activism: With the Tenacious Teens of our 2019 Consumer Zodiac championing ethics and sustainability, this demographic will increasingly expect their fitness providers to follow suit. UK gym 1Rebel's #REBELAGAINSTPLASTIC initiative is eliminating single-use plastic from its gyms and providing reusable alternatives.
- In December 2018, it opened its first 100% single-use-plastic-free gym on London’s Southbank. To explore more altruistic activations within the sports industry, read our Fitness Futures: Social Sport Trends report.
- When teens work out, they want to feel good as well as look the part. Earlier this year, British YouTube fitness influencer Grace Fit UK launched new activewear brand Tala. All of the workout garments in the range are made from recycled pre- and post-consumer materials, such as cotton and plastic water bottles. The company’s shipping packaging is recyclable, and all labels are printed on plantable seed-studded paper to help reach the brand’s goal of becoming 100% sustainable in the future.
Generation Z has come of age at a time when health and wellness is a major consideration. Many younger members […] follow their parents’ healthy ways, and it seems health consciousness only gets stronger as they approach adulthood.
Gen Z are a diverse cohort, and therefore expect brands and retailers to take an inclusive stance with their products and platforms. They want safe, LGBTQ+-friendly, gender-neutral spaces that allow everyone to thrive and get fit at the same time.
- Every Body: A 2018 Ypulse survey revealed that US girls’ confidence levels can drop by 30% between the ages of eight and 14, and more than half feel pressure to be perfect. But young men are just as vulnerable – recently published data shows that hospital admissions of boys being treated for eating disorders in the UK has almost doubled in the last eight years (NHS, 2018).
- Type #fitspo into Instagram, and you’ll find more than 56 million posts – the majority promoting svelte, toned body shapes. However, empowered youth movements, communities and individuals are breaking down fitness body stereotypes.
- Instagram influencers like @mynameisjessamyn, @karinairby, @theeverymanproject and @biggalyoga are here to challenge the norm. Their messages of inclusivity and body confidence have resonated deeply – amassing around two million followers between them. Additionally, hype brands like Outdoor Voices, as well as established mainstays like Nike are taking inclusive stances by casting and representing people of all shapes and sizes in their campaigns and store mannequins.
- Beyond Binary: In recent years, queer and trans visibility has increased. In fact, 35% of Gen Z say they know someone who prefers to be addressed with gender-neutral pronouns (Pew, 2019). For a lot of trans and non-binary youngsters, gendered fitness and gym spaces can be intimidating.
- Open and inclusive ones like LA’s Everybody and California’s The Queer Gym are providing supportive environments. Gender-neutral changing facilities are just some of the initiatives taken to make members feel safe and comfortable, encouraging exercisers to share their preferred pronouns ahead of classes and removing mirrors to de-emphasise the aesthetics of fitness.
- Personal fitness is estimated to be a $9bn industry, with online training taking up an increasing share of the market. A growing percentage of online trainers are trans and non-binary, catering to demographics wary of traditional gym atmospheres.
- Jesse Diamond is a transgender National Academy of Sports Medicine-certified fitness trainer in Nashville, and has an audience of over 35,000. And Atlanta-based Shawn Stinson, a transgender personal trainer and competitive bodybuilder, has an audience of almost 17,000. Both have high engagement with their followers, making them ideal micro-influencers for brands looking to connect with this audience.
- Broadening the Perspective: Nearly half of Gen Z identify as non-white, but people of colour (PoC) have long been underrepresented in fitness and wellness (Pew, 2018). Young female PoC leaders are creating innovative ways to bring self-care to new audiences.
- Sanchia Legister of London’s Yogahood removes the social barriers preventing PoC from participating in yoga. Britteny Floyd-Mayo, also known as Trap Yoga Bae, introduces “those who feel ostracised from the typical Yogi experience” to the exercise by using trap music and a live DJ to create a party atmosphere. Based in San Francisco, the events draw crowds in their hundreds.
- Similarly, New York's Spiked Spin launched to provide affordable cycling classes for black female-identifying individuals after founder Briana Owens became frustrated with the lack of PoC-minded wellness activities the city had to offer. Until mainstream companies catch on, these fitness start-ups are leading the way for inclusivity
Health and wellbeing brands should celebrate the diversity and inclusivity of this generation. Explore opportunities to create products and experiences that relate directly to Gen Z’s life experience, while providing safe environments in which to improve their fitness.
Teens are self-sufficient and clued-up; they go online to find the best deals, download DIY apps, and discover new trends through peers and celebrity influencers. With democratised co-creation becoming a clear consumer driver for Gen Z, they’re increasingly expecting brands to reach them via connected platforms and devices.
- Digital DIY: As well as Snapchat, YouTube is where Gen Zers go for information. New York boutique fitness space Performix House taps into this generation’s interest in individual content creation. It offers an in-house studio, where members and trainers have access to brand-building resources such as a full production team to create fitness instruction videos and other social media content.
- App-letics: According to a study by UniDays, 43% of surveyed teens work out at home. Over half own or have access to a smartphone, so it’s no surprise that mobile fitness activations are a popular choice for teens (Pew, 2018). Cult apps like Kayla Itsines’ Sweat, Gymfitty and Freeletics offer personal training and fitness support on smartphones.
- VR IRL: There’s been an explosion of virtual reality (VR) spaces and apps where users can go to look after their bodies – and their minds. Such fitness experiences will appeal to the digital-native Gen Z demographic, who are used to tech applications across all facets of their life.
- Fitness companies are already capitalising on the novelty of alternate realities. Last year, cult US activewear brand Outdoor Voices released an augmented reality (AR) app that encouraged consumers to hit the great outdoors in order to purchase new products ahead of their official release.
- As this generation is familiar with interacting with technology in the leisure space, gamifying exercise through VR and AR is a great way to engage their interest in getting and staying fit.
- Leveraging Affordability: As many youngsters are still financially dependent on their parents, cost-effective fitness solutions will act as a key consumer driver. Low-cost and pay-as-you-go gyms and schemes are already finding success among young consumers. There are more than 500 low-cost clubs in the UK, which cost less than £20 ($25.50) a month, and account for 15% of the market value.
- US chain Planet Fitness has recognised this demand. The brand is offering free memberships at its 1,700 locations for teens aged 15-18 from June to September to help them keep their fitness levels up during the school summer break. Other gyms would be wise to follow suit; it could cultivate loyal members beyond their teenage years, and encourage other family members to join for convenience.
To reach Gen Z, brands must learn to speak their language and optimise their product for teen-friendly channels. Don’t ignore digital, but integrate IRL (in real life) activities with immersive tech to appeal to this cohort. Companies must always consider economic accessibility, as many of this generation are still dependent on the bank of mum and dad.
Collision 2019: Tech for Human Connection
A crop of start-ups at the Collision tech conference in Toronto last month focused on building community and connection, responding to the rise of Gen Lonely, and the backlash against established social platforms. Here, we look at two that stood out from the crowd.
- Creating Renter Communities: Targeting urban isolation and the mass of millennial renters is Bungalow – North America’s fastest-growing co-living company, according to co-founder Andrew Collins. Rather than focusing on short-term rentals, Collins said Bungalow is “building rich community within households and across households”.
- The start-up pairs users with roommates and also hosts events to bring local Bungalow residents together. An app that helps members report maintenance issues includes a social component, encouraging users to connect with one another.
- Two years since launch, Bungalow has expanded to 10 American cities, leveraging existing inventory rather than building new housing. It signs multi-year leases with homeowners, furnishing and maintaining the properties, and rents rooms individually.
- For more on how living arrangements are evolving, see our Independent Singletons report and The New Family Network, part of our Kinship Economy Macro Trend.
- Coupling Kindness with Commerce: Austin-based Koya, which launched last month, encourages users to create meaningful points of connection with friends and family, said co-founder Courtney Werner.
- The app lets users send messages and surprise gifts that are geo-located to spots a recipient frequents or is likely to visit. For instance, upon arriving at their hotel, a traveller might receive a smartphone notification that a friend has bought them a drink at the bar; users are charged through PayPal when gifts are redeemed. Koya is currently seeking brand partnerships.
- According to Phoebe Scriven, a venture capital investor with London firm Rooks Nest, this type of positive, interpersonal activity is something we’ll see more commonly as platforms look to help users forge and maintain deeper relationships. See also Next-Gen Online Communities in our Spring 2019 Pop Culture Round-Up.
Find our full report on Collision 2019 here.
Trend Report Lowdown: Towards Our Sustainable Future
From leveraging longer product life cycles to exploring the wealth in waste, our new Macro Trend reveals how your business can – and must – contribute to a truly sustainable future. Here’s what it covers across 10 reports.
Sustainability. Can it really be described as a trend?
Not in the traditional sense of the word, no. Rather, it’s an imperative that every single one of us – whatever our industry, role or status – has to get on board with. Right now – and we really do mean right now – we must all take action. And to do that, we need to learn from each other.
Where to start, on something that can seem overwhelming?
Well, by reading our latest Macro Trend: Towards Our Sustainable Future. Its 10 reports cover everything from The Wealth in Waste – which explores how upcycling creates circularity in product design, architecture, beauty and fashion, to Reaching Eco Demographics, which shows how to best reach a range of audiences to promote eco living.
What do these audiences look like?
Let’s break it down generationally. First, boomers and seniors: they’ve typically been ignored in the sustainability conversation, but with the environmental crisis firmly entrenched, they’re looking to make eco-conscious adjustments to their lives.
Next, Gen X, whose sustainability concerns are centred on their families. Sustainable products, services and messaging will go down well with a group that’s genuinely fearful for their children’s future.
Millennials. They may have less disposable income than the generations preceding them, but the money they do have is used to support sustainable causes. They’ve demonstrated their commitment to sustainability; brands now have to mirror this in their business models.
Gen Z, meanwhile, are passionate climate activists who are able to make their voices heard globally – just look at Greta Thunberg. Brands should engage with the ethos of this generation early.
Finally, Gen Alpha – the first sustainability natives. Here, we believe, lies a rich opportunity for new eco-driven initiatives.
How to engage these demographics, and their nuances?
It won’t be easy: marketing messages around sustainability aren’t cutting through. Brands, then, need new ways to talk about the issue – and that means doing more than planet-friendly pledges.
Could your business facilitate positive behaviour change? Can you be more honest by admitting mistakes and being open about your challenges? And can you go beyond non-specific terms and vague promises to re-engage the sceptical?
Communicating with Conscious Consumers, the Macro’s Media & Marketing report, reveals how to answer “yes” to these questions by creating platforms for change, spotlighting transparency, and promoting definitive climate-positive goals.
What other reports are in Towards Our Sustainable Future?
The Post-Vegan Opportunity, which explains why tomorrow’s planet-positive diet must prioritise diversity, compassion and radical thinking.
Ethical Travel’s Breakthrough, which unpacks the products and services blending sustainability, luxury and wanderlust.
Leveraging Longer Product Life, which shows how to monetise the growing global demand for extending life cycles in all kinds of consumer product categories.
Water Warriors, which deep dives into cross-industry best practice in water conservation – from small, mindful tweaks to large-scale, tech-driven innovations.
Eco-Ethical Retail Tech, which examines the powerful role consumer-facing retail tech has to play in the battle for sustainability.
And Tech’s Holistic Revolution, which explores the transformative technologies that are helping reshape the nature of sustainability.
I count nine. What’s the final one?
Ah, our Editors’ Insights. Shall we share a couple?
Well, Mandy Saven, our head of Food, Beverage & Hospitalty, says that while there are many reasons for going vegan, saving the planet “isn’t one of them”. “While many media channels, food brands and even celebs are selling us a convincing story about its ability to reduce food scarcity and eco damage,” she says, “the reality is far more nuanced and complex.”
And here’s Christian Ward, our head of Media & Marketing, on why people are becoming numb to sustainability messaging. “Despite increasing demand for more ethical choices, brands face a challenge in articulating their purpose in a way that cuts through,” he explains.
“The opportunity for marketers is to reframe the sustainability conversation into something more optimistic, with education and accessibility at its heart.”
Daye’s CBD Tampons Reduce Period Pain
The feminine care industry is experiencing a complete transformation, as bold indie brands step into the spotlight and shatter taboos. Simultaneously, smart companies are reinventing everyday products to optimise comfort. British start-up Daye is launching CBD-infused tampons, with the aim of making periods as pain-free as possible.
Set to launch in Autumn 2019, the brand’s first product offers an alternative to traditional painkillers. Each tampon is coated with 30% cannabidiol (CBD) oil to maximise pain relief during menstruation. CBD naturally decreases this discomfort when absorbed via the vaginal canal, as it holds the highest concentration of cannabinoid receptors.
Daye is breaking new ground with its product launch by targeting menstrual cramps, an area of feminine care that’s relatively overlooked. It’s also tapping into the boom of CBD-related products that ease pain – about 40% of US consumers turn to CBD to alleviate aches (Eaze, 2019).
Daye also debuted its female-first blog Vitals ahead of the product launch. The health-focused platform aims to reduce the stigma around periods. It covers a range of topics, including women’s health and CBD, offering practical advice on both to help alleviate physical discomfort during menstruation. This is a key issue in the UK – about 57% of British women feel period pain has affected their ability to work (YouGov, 2017).
In addition, the brand is targeting women who actively search for eco-friendly products. The packaging includes water-soluble paper wrappers and compostable refill pouches. Daye also provides users with a renewably sourced sugarcane applicator.
At Stylus’ Decoded Future summit in London this year (June 6), discussions spanned the imperative of sustainability, creating stronger bonds with customers, and the tricky business of forging authentic digital connections.
Verify Your Message
To engage consumers when discussing vital issues like sustainability, speakers agreed that it’s essential to ensure marketing initiatives are free from greenwashing. This demands cross-industry partnerships that enable brands to bolster each other’s messaging.
You need to start prioritising the planet over your profits, and if you don’t do this you won’t have a business in the long term.
- Bring in a Third Party: Third-party certifications can provide consumers with actionable information about a company’s business practices. “Having an independent certification from a third-party company shows that your commitment isn’t only marketing,” said Aaron Hocking, EMEA managing director for Australian tour provider Intrepid, which became the first B-Corporation travel company in 2010.
However, these certifications must be trustworthy and communicated effectively to be valuable. As we mention in Communicating with Conscious Consumers, part of our Towards Our Sustainable Future Macro Trend, most people don’t know what different certifications represent. Intrepid works around this knowledge gap through its blog and social media channels, which focus on the brand’s charitable endeavours, such as its community-based tourism project in Myanmar and campaign to promote mountain porters’ rights.
Turkish denim brand Isko adopts a similar approach. It educates consumers via its social media channels about its EU Ecolabel and Nordic Swan Ecolabel certifications. Yet Rosey Cortazzi, Isko's global marketing director insists that these certifications are trusted by the consumer: “They know that these [certified] products will be soft on the skin and be safe to wear.”
Listen to our Future Thinking podcast for more on navigating the complex space of sustainable travel.
- Tech for Good: Several speakers emphasised the benefits of working with start-ups to resolve the most pressing global challenges. Paul Miller, managing partner and chief executive of Bethnal Green Ventures, said: “We have been helping Google and Microsoft to set up platforms for ‘Tech for Good’ start-ups. These larger corporations are actively seeking to work with mission-driven start-ups.”
Marc Zornes, co-founder and chief executive of Winnow, added: “The one thing we [humans] have is the power of ingenuity to drive change, and organisations must appreciate this. Those taking climate change seriously will have a competitive edge.”
Fashion’s Circular Pivot
“[Fast fashion] is a model based on overconsumption, overproduction […] and the exploitation of women,” said MP for the UK’s Labour party Mary Creagh. Savvy brands are rethinking how future generations will interact with fashion, and pushing for circular models that reduce the wear-it-once model of consumption.
I want fashion to set out its blueprint for a net zero emissions world.
- Engaging with Resale: “Resale and rental has to be the future because we can’t keep using new resources,” said Sara Arnold, founder of British fashion rental company Higher Studio, which champions moderate consumption by only offering rare garments, such as atypical coats and power jumpsuits. According to Arnold, such clothing helps “people to really appreciate wearing something unusual”.
For Arnold, this clothing is an excuse to push the eco-activist agenda: “Everyone with a platform has a responsibility to tell the truth and raise awareness [about climate change]. As a company, we’ve declared a climate emergency.” As such, the brand’s social media platforms forego glossy outfit shots for calls to action on raising sustainability awareness.
- Digital Fashion’s Waste-Reducing Message: Partly inspired by the boom in digital influencers (see AI Influencers Rise Up below), Dutch company The Fabricant is pioneering tech for dressing consumers’ virtual alter egos (such as avatars) with digital-only clothing lines. The fashion house uses 3D visualisations to develop luxury garments that will never be made physically – but exist digitally as one-of-a-kind blockchain tokens. In May 2019, the brand sold its first garment at auction for $9,500, suggesting that digital garments might provide a waste-free solution for the luxury fashion industry.
Digital companies are also helping non-luxury consumers reduce their environmental footprint. Irish start-up The Nu Wardrobe lets users digitise their wardrobe and share their clothes with others. Before both parties arrange a collection point, a deposit fee of €5 ($5.65) is paid to secure the item. The company claims this initiative will reduce landfill waste, as people are encouraged to rent unused clothes and dress sustainably.
There needs to be a bigger shift in consumer behaviour. People need to understand that when clothing has reached its end of life, it can be reused. We need infrastructure in place to fuel this change – like doorstep collection.
- Tech-Enhanced Textiles: Smart manufacturers are answering the call of brands seeking eco-friendly material innovations to make ethical clothing. A fashion brand’s choice of raw materials determines up to 50% of its environmental footprint (WRAP, 2017).
British fashion-tech company Worn Again Technologies aims to eradicate the use of virgin resources in clothing and textiles. The manufacturers have developed a technology that recycles the polymers of cotton and polyester. It extracts and purifies these raw materials to produce a virgin equivalent without microplastics.
Bring Customers into the Fold
Speakers agreed that brands can foster loyalty by forging two-way partnerships with their customers – either by bringing them into their workforce or by having active conversations with them. This is an especially powerful way to communicate with cohorts frequently overlooked by marketers.
- Beauty Insiders: Niche brands are making waves in the beauty industry thanks to refined formulations and personas that appeal to skintellectuals. Colette Newberry, co-founder of British brand The Inkey List, spoke of the value in building a real relationship with customers. The brand purposefully doesn’t hire outside agencies to do this; instead, it partners with customers to test products and speaks to them directly about new launches.
For more on how niche brands are disrupting the beauty industry, listen to our Future Thinking podcast featuring The Inkey List co-founders.
- Just for Boomers: Lara Crisp, editor of UK online over-50s community Gransnet, described boomers as brands’ biggest missed opportunity: 22% of those aged 55 to 64 live in households with a total wealth of £1m or more (ONS, 2019). According to Gransnet, this demographic feels alienated by advertising which commonly portrays them as either unrealistically rich and glamorous, or as worried crones peering anxiously into their purses.
Crisp said that the key to selling to this cohort is understanding their nuances, engaging with them through forums like Gransnet, hiring more of them in their companies, and using real people in ads aimed at them. “Companies simply don’t understand this market and treat over-50s as a homogenous group. We wouldn’t lump together a four-year-old and a 40-year-old,” she commented.
- Champion Core Identity: When engaging with audiences via community-led media (such as memes) foregrounding brand message is crucial. According to Deborah Joseph, editor-in-chief of Glamour UK, the magazine struggled to grow its social media following when it only shared funny memes. When it started using Instagram’s Stories feature to champion its core pillars of feminism and empowerment through memes, its audience grew quickly.
The ability to remain authentic without missing the mark is key, agreed John Montoya, UK marketing director at Vice. He is currently looking at how the brand can implement quirky Gen Z-favourite app TikTok: “We don’t want to be the old people in the room. We try to achieve authenticity through staffing – employing young people.”
For more on fan collaboration and the meme opportunity, see Pop Culture Round-Up: Meme Mechanics.
Next-Gen Influencer Marketing
Speakers explored the problems (and potentials) of influencer marketing, and focused on how brands can cut through social media noise by forging authentic connections. The role of AI influencers is also facing scrutiny as brands grapple with how best to integrate CGI avatars into a successful marketing strategy.
- Catching Influencer Attention: British colour cosmetics start-up Beautonomy has found success working with influencers to create bespoke eyeshadow palettes. “We collaborate with influencers to build something they love. What is great is that they keep using [the eyeshadow palettes]. It continues into multiple posts and [they] talk about the quality of make-up,” said the brand’s chief operating officer, Kyle Karim. “In [making bespoke products] we have to create relationships. We can’t chuck your name on it and send it.”
As influencer marketing proliferates, ‘consumer as creator’ strategies will help brands nurture meaningful relationships that eradicate one-off promotional transactions – see Supercharging Creativity for more.
- AI Influencers Rise Up: As the line between reality and fantasy continues to blur, AI and computer-generated models are infiltrating Instagram feeds. Although these influencers have already appeared in renowned campaigns, brands should employ them imaginatively.
“Brands are only leveraging them for scenarios that human beings would be in. For Ugg’s 40th anniversary they just stuck in Lil Miquela and it was quite gimmicky,” commented Livvi Yallop, creative and influencer strategist at The Digital Fairy.
American fast-food brand KFC set the standard for creative use of CGI influencers in a recent Instagram campaign that reimagined its spokesman, the Colonel, as a young adult. The Colonel appeared in typical influencer scenarios, such as discussing #selfcare in sponsored posts and undergoing a spiritual awakening at Joshua Tree National Park in California.
According to Amie Shearer, head of influencer marketing at Mumsnet: “[The campaign] is a brilliant way to get people to engage with KFC’s Colonel’s Club by taking the brand into new digital spaces.” Brands would be wise to follow this inventive example, which uses AI influencers as an opportunity for broadening the brand’s fan base, rather than as a digital supplement to traditional influencers.
Sustainable Footwear Solutions
Numerous brands are turning their attention to sustainable footwear solutions as a means to replace damaging manufacturing processes with resourceful alternatives. We round up noteworthy projects that use innovative material developments and low-impact strategies.
- American apparel brand Everlane is on a mission to produce the world’s most sustainable sneaker with its new line Tread. The trainers are designed to be long-lasting and are made using carefully considered low-impact materials. The sole is a blend of natural and post-industrial recycled rubber (making it 94.2% virgin plastic-free), while the laces and lining are made using recycled plastic bottles. The brand has partnered with third-party firms to offset the carbon emissions they can’t yet eliminate, justifying a carbon neutral status.
- German footwear brand Nat-2 pioneers eco-friendly footwear using innovative materials. A recent release is the Milk Line, made using QMilk. This felt-like material is formed using milk fibres from leftover milk which is not suitable for the food industry – a valuable but overlooked raw material. The fibres are combined with wool to create a soft felt, which is temperature regulating and antibacterial.
- A concept sneaker from Nat-2 features a blood-red bio-leather panel made from meat industry waste. The shoe is a collaboration with Israeli designer Shahar Livne who develops sustainable materials using low-value byproducts from slaughterhouses. The waste products – such as fat, bones and blood – are processed into a substance than can be moulded or 3D-printed into a leather-like material. See Waste Pioneers for more material innovations using food industry waste.
- US start-up DopeKicks has launched a waterproof, eco-friendly sneaker made from hemp. Hemp fibres are processed into yarns and woven into a durable textile – a process that consumes three times less water than the production of cotton. The shoes also feature recycled rubber soles, cork insoles and are manufactured using ethical labour.
Read our latest Macro Trend, Towards Our Sustainable Future, for more innovative eco-conscious strategies.
Eco awareness, ethics and values now influence all travellers, and this mindset is opening up countless opportunities for brands and operators.
Bouteco’s Juliet Kinsman, Intrepid Group’s Aaron Hocking, and Stylus’ own Mandy Saven were joined by journalist Deborah Cicurel to discuss what the new eco traveller looks like, wealth distribution, and how not to annoy customers.