Written by Owen Wright

25 November 2020

So far in our Pandemic Lens series looking at the Conscious Choices macro trend, we have explored Ethical Shopping and Hyper-Essentialism. In our final post on this topic, we look at Guilt Free Materials and what that means for future consumer behaviours.


Although we have seen a temporary increase in single-use plastics during the pandemic (due to hygiene concerns), zero waste and anti-plastic trends have certainly not gone away. This mindset remains ingrained in the public consciousness, with continued protesting from extinction rebellion and the release of Sir David Attenborough’s latest Netflix documentary: A life on Our Planet.

In a push to turnaround our impact on the environment, we’re expecting strong growth in plant-based fibres, with innovative upcycling and vegan materials, creating guilt-free products.

Leave No Trace

Images from left to right: Netflix, Vollbak, Fernando Laposse

This mindset is particularly important for categories with short life-spans like fast fashion and gift and greetings. We’ll start to see consumer products that biodegrade as consumers are drawn to a ‘leave no trace’ approach.

Innovating in this space is adventure-clothing brand Vollebak, who created a t-shirt from pulped eucalyptus, beech and spruce which can be composted and will fully decompose within three months.

Expect to see more focus on seaweed as a biodegradable material and ingredient in everything from packaging to consumer products as we move through 2021.


Images from left to right: Buffy, Nicole Stjernswärd, Edward Bulmer

Alongside a major resurgence in all things clean and immunity-boosting, customers will favour toxin-free natural ingredients and dyes. New York bedding company Buffy has recently tapped into this growing trend, using natural dye made from a mix of plants, spices and fruits to colour its eucalyptus fabric bed sheets. The blush tone featured above was created from turmeric, gardenia and walnut. Expect to see an increased focus on the adoption of toxin-free alternatives across the home, from naturally dyed fabrics to plant-based paint and built environment adhesives.

Our seasonal trend books are seen as an essential tool by some of the world’s best brands and retailers, helping them make sound commercial decisions about how to respond to future change. To receive a free demo of our Autumn Winter 2021/22 Trend Book click ‘download now’ on this post.

Written by Owen Wright

Owen joined the team as Trend Researcher in 2017 and supports the Strategy and Insight team delivering bespoke consultancy to brands and manufacturers. He previously worked as an innovation specialist at Godfrey Syrett. He has a degree in Industrial and Product Design from the University of Teeside.

We send the bespoke trend reports out to different departments in our organisation from product development to digital and customer teams. The report acts as internal inspiration that everyone can read and get something from. The feedback we get is overwhelmingly positive.


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