Textile Insight

March / April 2019

Issue link: https://viewer.e-digitaledition.com/i/1095283

Contents of this Issue


Page 13 of 35

FOOTWEAR | VEGAN MATERIALS 14 • Textile Insight ~ March/April 2019 textileinsight.com Sanuk, says the "vast majority" of its Spring '19 line is certified vegan. Sydney Simas, VP of sales & marketing for comfort brand Arcopedico, estimates that 80 percent of the brand's business today is animal-free. Even OluKai, a brand that made its name with its range of luxe leather flip-flops, has had vegan products in the line since its founding and is approximately 25 percent vegan-friendly today, says senior footwear designer Juliana Sanfelici. What's Driving Consumers? Consumer interest in leading vegetarian and vegan lifestyles is critical. It's the reason Citrus Heights, CA-based brand Bearpaw piloted a small test program in 2018 that it is rolling out more widely for Fall/Winter 2019. "The population of vegans and vegetarians is growing, so we wanted to offer cozy and comfortable Bearpaw products for them to wear," Aaron Brown, VP of product and sourc- ing, said of offering three of the brand's top-selling boot styles in microsuede and acrylic shearling. "We believe we're in the midst of a shift to more mindful consumer- ism, meaning that consumers are more compelled than ever to support brands that align with their values and lifestyle," Wedhammar said. "In this case, people love animals, and so do we." But beyond that, brands cite both consumer demand for and their own internal goals for sustainable pro- duction as the motivation for changes. "Comfort and eco-friendly materials are important to our consum- ers," Simas said. "Every time we have a focus group, we hear about how important sustainability is to our consumers," Wedhammar added. "When we ask about animal-friendly or vegan product, groups tend to light up with genuine excitement." What Materials Are Changing The Game? But advancing sustainability in vegan products will necessitate exploring new materials. (As Osness points out, the two aims are often "mutually exclusive: many synthetic leathers and foams are petrochemical based and have significant negative environmental impact.") Vivobarefoot's Clark said that replacing oil-based synthetics with those made of renewable resources like bioplastics or lyocell will be critical for the brand to meet its goal of having 90 percent of its line be made of sustainable materials by 2020. In 2017, the brand introduced a shoe made of Bloom foam, a cushion- ing material that blends EVA with algae. This year, it introduced the Primus Bio shoe, which uses Susterra, a bio TPU derived from corn that makes up 60 percent of the outsole and 30 percent of the upper. Sole introduced its own styles with Bloom this year, vegan flip-flops with cork footbeds and knit uppers. For fall, Osness said, the line will include rice rubber, recycled PET, Bloom foam and recycled Polygiene silver — and it will only expand from there. "For Spring '20 and Fall '20 we are really taking a deep dive into our eco story to make sure every ele- ment of every new style has a sustainability story and most will be vegan as well," he said. "For uppers we are exploring organic hemp, 100 percent recycled PET, mushroom leather, grape skin leather, low-impact and recycled acrylics and tree and plant-based textiles. These will be combined with our Recork 100 percent post-consumer recycled cork footbeds and midsoles and either Bloom algae foam or rice rubber outsole to create the most sustainable, eco conscious and largely vegan collection on the market." l Birkenstock Gizeh Birkenstock Florida of respondents said that it was either "very" or "somewhat" important that the shoes they buy be completely free of animal byproducts. of respondents said they would be willing to pay more for vegan-friendly styles. 60% 48% Native Mercury 2.0 Liteknit

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Textile Insight - March / April 2019