Monday, May 20, 2024

Nearing $2.2 Billion, the Animal-Free Clothing Market Is Driving Eco Fashion Forward

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Within the next decade, demand for vegan alternatives to leather, fur, wool, and silk, will see the market rise to more than $2 billion as sustainable fashion takes center stage.

The global market for clothing made from alternatives to animal products is witnessing a remarkable surge, as detailed in an analytical report by Future Market Insights. Projected to reach $2.2 billion by 2033 and growing at a CAGR of 12 percent from 2023 to 2033, vegan clothing is poised to be one of the most lucrative segments in the turbulent fashion industry.

Vegan clothing, which includes apparel, footwear, and accessories made without animal products, is gaining momentum due to a rising consumer consciousness about sustainable materials and ethical sourcing. This shift is driven by an increasing awareness of the environmental and ethical implications of animal agriculture — one of the leading contributors to climate change.

Innovative companies specializing in material development are at the forefront of this trend. They are creating vegan alternatives to traditional textiles using bio-based materials such as fungi, grape waste, pineapple waste, and apple peels to replace leather. These advancements are being embraced by mainstream fashion brands and leading designers, as well as high-profile collaborations aimed at producing vegan clothing lines and reducing animal materials, chiefly leather and wool.

Stella McCartney's new leather made from Veuve Clicquot grapes
Stella McCartney’s new leather is made from Veuve Clicquot grapes | Courtesy

The Human Society of the United States reports that more than 1,500 companies, including major fashion brands like Gucci, Prada, and Michael Kors, have adopted fur-free policies. “This cultural shift towards cruelty-free practices is revolutionizing vegan fashion and influencing businesses to evolve,” states a report by PETA, which also notes a 66 percent increase in completely fur-free fashion brands since 2018.

Investments in companies developing next-generation materials are also on the rise. Since 2013, these companies have attracted around $3 billion, indicating a growing interest in sustainable and ethical alternatives to traditional materials. Leather alternative companies have received particular attention, with 60 percent of the investments in 2022 focusing on developing leather substitutes.

Key players in the segment include Zara, Tentree, Stella McCartney, and Nudie Jeans Co., among others. These brands are gaining consumer trust through ethical practices, third-party certifications, and transparent manufacturing processes.

Recent developments in the market include Harper Coats’ rebranding in October 2020 to become a cruelty-free vegan brand, Stella McCartney’s launch of Mylo apparel made from mushroom leather in November 2022. Danish luxury label Ganni pledged to remove virgin leather and lambskin from its collections by the end of this year, likening the material to cigarette smoking on television.

Material innovations, particularly in replacing leather, have been notable in 2023. Balenciaga earned praise from the animal rights organization, PETA, for its leather-free Lunaform coat. Ganni debuted the first jacket made from bacteria-based leather, and Stella McCartney showcased a range of vegan materials at markets she set up during Paris Fashion Week in September and again earlier this month at COP28.

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