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Interview

Conscious consumerism on the rise

Nicole Meier, director of branding for New York-headquartered animal-free luxury fabrics manufacturer Ultrafabrics sees brands re-evaluating their values.

13th May 2022

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Tarrytown, NT, USA

Transport/​Aerospace, Clothing/​Footwear, Sustainable

Looking back over the past decade and witnessing the reaction to the prevalent effects of climate change, it goes without saying that consumer habits are changing, and rightly so.

Thanks to the work of visionaries and leaders such as Greta Thunberg, Dr Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Sir David Attenborough, the topic has been brought to the attention of the public, instilling a call to action and the need for individual accountability. While individual conduct alone may seem diminutive, in comparison to the extreme devastation of ecosystems we have observed in recent times, consumers are beginning to understand the importance of small actions which, when combined on a global scale, lead to widespread positive change.

What happens in the next decade will reshape our world for generations to come

In response to this conscious consumer movement, brands are re-evaluating and redefining their values and ideals. Not to be seen as a chance for commercial gain, brands must also understand the need for real action and a genuine desire to build a greener future for all. What happens in the next decade will reshape our world for generations to come and that’s why Ultrafabrics is committed to the goal of its entire product portfolio being made from at least 50% rapidly renewable or recycled materials by 2030.

Oyuna used Volar Bio – Ultrafabrics’ first bio-based high-performance fabric – in the introduction of its  first vegan bag

Setting specific and measurable goals in this way is good for consumers who are seeking to invest in companies with strong sustainable commitments. Making public its developments in an annual report, Ultrafabrics is seeking to bring its audience on its journey towards a positive environmental future. As a pioneer of animal-free performance fabrics, Ultrafabrics is adopting a circular mindset and new technology in a bid to change the sector in which it operates.

Terminology

The terminology brands use is key in helping conscious consumers navigate their way towards responsible buying habits. That’s why Ultrafabrics has aligned the definitions such as “rapidly renewable” and “recycled” with terms used by The Textile Exchange. Rapidly renewable sources are those which are replenished at a rate equal to or greater than the rate of depletion, and the recycled materials are from pre- or post-consumer recycled sources that are certified to GRS and RCS standards. Such clarity is pivotal, and by open communication and an avoidance of vague and blanket terminology, it allows consumers to be more considered in their decisions.

New luxury Range Rover

Ultrafabrics has also noticed a shift from its commercial clients. Brands such as Land Rover, Movado and Oyuna are paying increased attention to the materials they source and that’s why collaborating with Ultrafabrics is an integral part of each company’s sustainable development.

Known as a sustainable design hub that specialises in responsibly sourced cashmere, fashion house Oyuna used Volar Bio – Ultrafabrics’ bio-based high-performance fabric – in the introduction of its first vegan bag offering. Made using a percentage of renewable, plant-based materials such as wood pulp and corn by-product, Volar Bio has been created to reduce the company’s dependency on finite resources.

Land Rover is using Ultrafabrics within its new Range Rover and Range Rover SV introductions.

Land Rover is also putting an emphasis on ‘materiality’ within its new Range Rover and Range Rover SV introductions, using Ultrafabrics materials in a bid to offer an uncompromised, yet responsibly sourced aesthetic. 

A recent analysis by NielsenIQ found that 73% of global consumers would definitely, or probably, change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment. The same report also found that 41% of consumers would be highly willing to pay more for products that contain all-natural or organic ingredients. With this in mind, the changes made by brands such as Oyuna and Land Rover are being welcomed by a vast number of consumers. As developments continue, this mindful approach will become standard, and sustainability won’t become something that has a premium price attached to it. It will become the norm. While these new materials may only be making their way into luxury markets right now, in time they will cascade into every sector, allowing consumers to gain easier access to sustainable solutions.

Transparency

As Ultrafabrics adapts, reshapes and redevelops its products to align itself with a greener future, its inherent conscious creativity is allowing the company to stay relevant to the changing needs and desires of its audience. As the consumer consciousness movement continues to increase, the need for full transparency and malleability is critical in ensuring industries can stay attuned to the needs of current and future generations. It is imperative for brands to listen to consumers if we are committed to ensuring a positive and more environmentally responsible future for all. So, as we look ahead to one of the most critical decades we have faced as a human race, companies and individuals must pull together, knowing that our actions, when combined as one, will create the change we urgently need to see.

ultrafabricsinc.com

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