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Fur made without animal products, petrochemicals has potentially high market share: report

The Material Innovation Initiative said 92% of U.S. respondents were likely to purchase next-generation materials.

Fur made without animal products, petrochemicals has potentially high market share: report

A model walks the runway at the Giorgio Armani fashion show during the Milan Fashion Week Womenswear Fall/Winter 2024-2025. Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images via Getty Images

Dive Brief:

  • Fur made without animal products or petrochemicals has the highest potential market share of all next-generation materials, according to a recent report from the Material Innovation Initiative.
  • The report found that next-generation materials have a potential 62% market share in the fur segment, while conventional fur had 38% potential market share.
  • While fur in fashion remains popular, the report cited a 2021 international survey which found that 64% of people are aware of animal cruelty in the fashion industry and 86% think brands should assure “animal welfare is upheld in their supply chains.”

Dive Insight:

Fur has had a recent resurgence due in part to the Mob Wife Aesthetic, a TikTok-championed trend, which features real or faux fur outerwear. The trend made its way to the runways as well, including during international fashion weeks.

The recent report focused on promoting fur made from next-generation materials over traditional animal fur or synthetic fiber, which it called “current gen.”

“When we think of sustainability at MII, we think of creating a system in which humans live in a symbiotic relationship with nature,” the report states. “…Our current system is broken, with our manufacturing taking too many natural resources, emitting numerous hazardous chemicals into the environment, and confining trillions of animals away from their natural habitats, social interactions, and innate behaviors. The solution is on the horizon: next-gen materials.”

The report stated that there were 141 next-gen material companies, and seven of them create next-gen fur. Ninety-two are next-gen leather companies. 

Beyond next-gen fur, the report found that in the U.S., 92% of respondents were open to purchasing a next-gen material, including 51% who were moderately likely to purchase and 41% who were extremely likely to purchase such items. Some 70% of respondents in China said they had a high likelihood of purchasing next-gen materials.

Of U.S. respondents, 29% said they would be willing to pay more for a next-generation material, per the report, and 57% of respondents in China said they would be willing to pay more.

Yet the fashion industry’s reception to next-generation materials has been a mixed bag. 

Renewcell, an early adopter of textile-to-textile fiber made from recycled pulp, filed for bankruptcy in February after struggling to raise money and is awaiting a buyer. By contrast, its recycled fiber competitor Infinited Fiber closed a $43.8 million funding round the following month.

Several companies such as Mycoworks, Ecovative Design and Gozen have created a leather alternative made from mushrooms. Last year, Mycoworks began production of its biofiber at scale at a new facility in South Carolina.

Gozen, whose mushroom leather material was used by Balenciaga, also closed a $3.3 million funding round. But Bolt Threads paused production of its mushroom material and pivoted its focus to its b-silk product, which is made from spider silk fibers.

Athleticwear giant Lululemon entered a multi-year partnership with Samsara Eco to make recycled nylon and polyester in May. Since the partnership was announced, the company has debuted its first recyclable polyester product and its first recycled nylon product.

  • Renewcell exec on what led to bankruptcy, what’s next By Laurel Deppen • March 28, 2024
  • 5 trend takeaways from New York Fashion Week’s fall-winter 2024 shows By Lara Ewen • Feb. 16, 2024