Category Research: Fashion & Beauty Trends
Some major trends in the fashion industry in Canada include the major rise of sustainability and in fashions such as vegan and recycled fashion. Major trends impacting Canada's beauty industry include the uniting of beauty products with natural health and wellness supplements, along with recycled products being greatly incorporated into the market.
- The fashion industry has been known to rely on unsustainable, exploitative, and unethical practices in labor and manufacturing in order to sell products, but recent trends over the last several years show the industry in a period of great change, with both major and small brands leaving behind old practices and traditional methods of production in favor of those that are sustainable, eco-friendly, and cruelty-free.
- Increasingly, vegan clothes are becoming more popular and in demand by customers, with no shortage of companies now to choose from, such as those like Unicorn Good and Keep Company who have varied and generalized catalogs of vegan clothes including shirts, jackets, accessories and more. Also, there are more specialized brands such as Unreal Fur, with their Ahisa line of vegan faux-fur, or vegan swimwear with Le Buna, and SUSI Studio and Beyond Skin with their vegan shoes. The market now offers a range of vegan clothing options for all customers, including upscale vegan clothing such as Brave Gentleman, and casual budget options like The Third Estate.
- Although there are many small niche companies selling ethical clothing, the transition to sustainable and ethical fashion is a phenomenon that is industry-wide. Major brands like Old Navy, Dr. Marten’s, Zara, and H&M now sell vegan clothes, while Hugo Boss, Gucci, and Gap have all banned fur. By 2020, H&M Group, Arcadia Group and Inditex have all pledged to stop selling mohair products.
- There is also a rapid increase in investing in new and innovative ethical alternatives to traditional clothing, such as a jacket by Save The Duck’s PLUMTECH which offers an alternative that is cruelty-free for down feathers, or new materials such as biofabricated leather which is composed of collagen protein and other essential building blocks in animal skin that does not require the slaughter of any animals.
- Products are being now being made entirely with materials that are recycled, upcycled, or deadstocked. Stella McCartney's entire line of products are vegetarian and the company Reformation utilizes a carbon-neutral production process to make its clothes while offering a $100 store credit to customers if they switch to wind energy.
- Recently a groundbreaking technology has been implemented that breaks cotton waste down into a liquid, remaking it stronger and a higher-performing fiber. Consumers throw away about 80% of the cotton and polyester that make up the majority of clothing (both requiring great amounts of resources to grow and manufacture) directly in the garbage. Next, research is looking into breaking down and rebuilding polyester, followed by recoverable stretch such as athletic gear, then bio-based and engineered fibers such as Tencel and rayon.
- Adidas and Stella McCartney recently worked together to design a hoodie made from regenerated cotton.
- Thousand Fell, a shoe company, offers vegan sneakers on a closed-loop model, where buyers wear them out, send them back, and they are recycled into other sneakers, while the buyer gets a credit for a new pair. They are made of a made of post-consumer plastic coated with quartz for the uppers, with the rest a mixture of recycled and natural rubber, aloe vera, and food waste from Brazil, such as sugar cane, corn, coconut, and palm tree leaves.
Beauty Products and Natural Health
- The natural, clean, and sustainable beauty market has seen a growth that few could have predicted, having such a rapid rate of growth unlike any before. Ancient traditions of Ayurvedic beauty are now on everyone's smartphones, and so formulas must also compete with or incorporate these ideas. Adding foods to the beauty routine is now about as common as any other practice, and waterless natural formulas are now normal.
- The beauty and natural health and wellness connection is thriving, with beauty products increasingly being associated with health and wellness in general. Beauty supplements have always been a dime a dozen, but now there are increasingly offers of vitamins and supplements promising beauty benefits like weight loss, healthier hair, and clearer skin.
- Companies such as Moon Juice, Vital Proteins, and HUM Nutrition (which in 2019 raised $15M) have all been backed by investors and along with startups such as Love Wellness (earning $4M in 2019), they are uniting beauty, self care, and health, through wellness and supplements.
Recycled Beauty Products
- The recycling and sustainable movement has also had a major impact on the beauty industry at large. One of the most innovative programs was Terracycle's Loop program where people in London, New York, and Paris are able to order products which arrive in eco-friendly packaging, such as glass bottles. When done, the packaging is sent back to the facilities where they are washed, refilled, and used again, in an effort to eliminate single-use plastic. Smaller brands such as Follain and Bathing Culture also have refillable glass jars with an option to refill in store or order a refill in bulk.
- Some mass brands have almost fully committed to recycled plastic, such as Dove announcing that all of their packaging would be completely recycled plastic very soon. Unilever, the parent company of Dove also hinted towards more developments of this kind to come in the following year.