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Sustainability and Mindfulness to Drive Consumers’ Future Buying Behaviors

Consumers are becoming increasingly focused on mindful experiences and sustainable options at retail, and the trend stands to continue for seasons to come.

In a seminar entitled “Sport and Street, Spring/Summer 2021 Trend Forecast” at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market on Wednesday, Paris-based brand marketing and design consultancy Promostyl touched on the environmental and cultural influences informing outdoor and athletic styling and innovation for future seasons.

Key industry players like REI and The North Face, among many others, are targeting consumers through marketing that promotes adventure and travel, enticing consumers through the idea of experiences they might have, rather than purchases they might make.

And as the atheisure trend evolves, gyms and boutique fitness operations are offering more experiential classes with a back-to-basics vibe, explained Maria Sampedro, director for Promostyl.

Deviating from the competitive atmosphere of the classes that have been popularized in recent years, these mindful fitness programs focus on things like balance training, movement meditation and “reaxing,” a practice that promotes increased perception and spatial awareness.

This re-framing of the consumer mindset will have implications at retail, said Sampedro.

Expect brands to explore material innovation in the form of “upgraded natural fibers.” Material manufacturers’ research will “focus on developing new materials or upgrading existing ones.”

Among the highlighted projects were Spinnova’s wood pulp-based cellulosic fibers and Solucell’s lightweight, moisture-wicking cotton.

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Recycled materials like ocean plastics (used very successfully by Adidas in its Parley for the Oceans campaign) and pre or post-consumer synthetics will also continue to evolve, Sampedro said.

“Keeping waterways clean also means rethinking dyeing, arguably the most polluting stage of textile and fashion manufacturing,” she said, underscoring an issue that could become more important to conscious shoppers over the coming seasons.

Bio-tech-reliant bacteria or enzyme-based dyes, all-natural plant-derived dyes, and waterless dyeing will soon become a more prominent part of supply chain conversations in fashion.

Consumers are also bound to take note as these innovations continue to advance. Circular design is an idea that brands are just starting to explore, and it could become an emotionally resonant concept for shoppers, too.

Sampedro pointed to Nike as a standard bearer, as the footwear company recently released a guide to circular design for brands.

“Companies are designing for recycling and using fewer components,” Sampedro said, calling out Levi’s collaboration with Cotton Inc. and Adidas’ forthcoming fully recyclable and circular shoe.

As brands start to more effectively integrate environmental stewardship into their marketing stories, these complicated concepts could become a major selling point for brands looking to do good.