the future of sustainability and upcycling
Industry experts were asked where they thought the future of upcycling and sustainable fashion were heading based off of their customers' behaviour. Many commented on the fact that although customers are becoming more engaged with the topic of conscious consumption, aesthetics continue to trump purchasing sustainably. SMEs must continue to strive for both, so that customers can join their style and aesthetic with their values.
"I do think consumer behaviours are changing. I really do. I think that sustainability as a theme and as a topic is so much more [present]. I think people are becoming much more aware of sustainability in the industry and I think brands are being forced to respond to that. I still think far too few consumers are doing the research that they should be doing before [they] purchase products. I would say the sustainability [aspect at Mara Hoffman] is a bonus. But I don't think that's why our customer shop the brand. I think that's actually what makes Mara Hoffman like pretty unique. [The] products really stand on their own."
"I think we've always had customers who are looking for sustainable product and mission driven brands. We have customers who ask about absolutely everything. And that's great. I mean, it's definitely something that we talk about internally. I will say some of our partners are also pushing us. And not necessarily the people that make our product- Some of our nonprofit partners too, are driving [us] forward."
"People aren’t going to buy sustainably if it doesn’t aesthetically please them. It’s got to be something they love first. Being sustainable is often a bonus for them."
"At the beginning we were really scared that people would just be like, 'uh, upcycling?' So we didn't talk about it very much. Actually, we didn't use the word upcycling for a long time. And then I've realised that people [are like], "oh yeah, it's upcycling!" like they talk to us and then they got really excited. Especially during the COVID time that we are now in, I feel like people are more interested in sustainability and upcycling because I think they are just kind of realising a bit more."
"I think the consumer changed a lot. I do think that comfort is still over sustainable thoughts and consciousness. So let's say if we wouldn't have a convenient customer service where you could easily order and receive your items, people would not shop with us. If we didn't have desirable products, people wouldn't shop with us. I think the consciousness aspect is an add on, but it's not the force that's driving people to spend their money."
"I would say I think that it's a mix. I think that the accessibility in terms of price-point is definitely a huge draw to a lot of people. The fact that it's all reclaimed material is a bonus, but then there are others as well, who like the fact that it's reclaimed material [and that] is the reason that they come. So definitely a lot of people who come to Fabscrap come to us because they are like-minded and want to be more sustainable in terms of anything that they're creating."
"I think what's most different and what's changing most, and also very rapidly is the perception of sustainable garments. Because if you told someone that you're a sustainable brand like 10 years ago, people would think about big potato sacks made out of hemp. Now, you are more easily able to marry your aesthetic and your values together instead of having to only pick sustainability or only pick your aesthetic."
Chloe Guss, Mara Hoffman Production Manager
Margot Lyons, Coyuchi Manager of Production and Sustainability
Katherine Jacobson, Taiyo Founder
Sabinna Rachimova, Sabinna Founder
Olivia Lara Weber, Trashion Factory Founder
Miette Farrer, Remie Studio Founder
Rachael Stein, Fabscrap Community Coordinator