Conscious fashion, particularly those items made with bio-based materials and deadstock, top the list of the 2021 Conscious Fashion Report from shopping platform, Lyst.
Lyst, which boasted 150 million shoppers over the last year, looked at its own shopper data as well as trends across Google, social media, and press coverage over the past 12 months.
“It was surprising to see how informed and mindful fashion lovers are with their shopping choices,” Nomfundo Mphuthi, strategy director at Lyst, told WWD. “Shoppers have a growing understanding of fashion production practices and materials and they definitely want to use their purchasing power in a conscious way.”
Vegan leather demand
Among the top trends in the Conscious Fashion report: vegan leather. According to Mphuti, pineapple and mushroom leather are trending with designers offering “a new vision of what sustainable clothing could look like.”
The demand for vegan leather was identified in last year’s findings, too. Searches for vegan leather increased 69 percent year-over-year in 2020.
“Fashion lovers are increasingly knowledgeable about the materials that go into the making of their favorite products,” Mphuthi said. “Demand for non-plastic alternatives has grown drastically over the past year: [with searches] up 38 percent for garments made out of mushroom-based materials (e.g. Mylo) and up 348 percent for biodegradable sneakers.”
One of the most recent high-profile examples was the vegan Air Jordans launched in collaboration with singer Billie Eilish. According to Lyst, that launch saw a 67 percent increase in searches for vegan sneakers on the platform.
But vegan leather is all over the place—Adidas has moved almost exclusively to upcycled plastic and plant leather. Samsung just launched vegan watch straps made out of apple leather. Even car companies are getting in on the action. BMW recently spotlighted catcus leather, and Volvo not only launched vegan leather shoes, but it also announced it was replacing animal leather in all of its electric vehicles.
Consumers are also keen on deadstock—upcycled fabrics and clothes reworked into new designs instead of sent to landfills. According to Lyst, there were more than 9.5 million TikTok views on deadstock fashion items, up 117 percent over 2020.
Another big trend: clothing repair. Brands like Patagonia and Levi’s that offer post-purchase repairs saw increased searches. Luxury footwear brand Manolo Blahnik recently announced its first repair program. Prince Charles is also an advocate of the practice.
Lyst is extending the conscious fashion spotlight over the next few months via collaborations with six sustainable designers. The featured designers include vegan shoe brand Rombaut; upcycling label Lafaille; recycled and hand-dyed brand Come Back As a Flower; handmade to order By Megan Crosby; restorative footwear brand Astara; and minimalist designer Simon Goldman.
According to Mphuthi, the brands were all chosen for their “fascinating ideas about the future of conscious fashion.”
The 2021 report builds on the trends Lyst identified in 2020 where sustainability and slow fashion were the biggest trends.
According to the brand, in 2020 “slow fashion” generated 90 million social impressions “suggesting the beginning of a shift in shopping behaviors,” the report said.
Lyst’s 2019 and 2020 reports also spotlighted sustainability-related terms as an emerging trend. In 2019, searches around sustainability increased 75 percent year-on-year. The platform defined sustainable fashion as “protecting the future of our planet and its people when we design, create and wear our clothes.”