As the leaders in luxury prioritize a sustainable future, innovation seems to know no bounds.
From advancements in electric vehicles to better food, fashion, and beauty to a new priority on wellness, the world of luxury is changing.
1. Better leather
Leather alternatives have been growing in popularity for years, but the pace is picking up. In the last 12 months we saw brands including Louis Vuitton and Hermès to Ganni embrace cactus, apple, mushroom, pineapple and even grape leather. If that wasn’t enough, vegan leather is also busting into the luxury EV market with Mercedes-Benz equipping its new VISION EQXX with both cactus and mushroom leather. Cactus leather is also coming to BMW, and Volvo says all of its EVs will be entirely cow-leather-free.
2. EV advancements
In the quest for a more sustainable future an electric car isn’t enough. Technology is at the forefront of helping lithium step up its game. Car manufacturers from Bentley to Rolls Royce are speeding toward electric fleets. Lithium mining for batteries is also getting a focus with efforts to make it more sustainable, including lithium silicon. Tesla is already hard at work at recycling EV batteries and the new Mercedes-Benz concept EV, gets double the range of most EVs with a battery half the size.
EVs aren’t just coming to our roadways, though. The shift is well underway on the high seas, with yachts, catamarans, and cruise ships increasing their sustainability metrics. Airlines are also making advances toward electric planes as well as increasing the use of sustainable aviation fuel.
3. B Corps and beyond
A few years ago, most people didn’t even know the term B-Corp, now we are seeing it pop up everywhere. From the luxury fashion industry, with Chloé becoming the first designer brand to achieve the status, to the food, beauty, and wellness space B-Corp is the stamp of approval all brands (and consumers) want. Consumers are demanding more transparency about the brands they are supporting and trusting certifications like B-Corps to help them support better businesses.
It is looking like mushrooms just might to the answer to sustainability in more ways than one. Mushrooms leather has proved a top contender to take on the traditional leather industry with Stella McCartney and Hermès both launching mushroom leather bags in the past year. Mushroom packaging is showing up to help tackle our plastic problems within the ever growing product shipping demands. Chefs, like Tesco’s Derek Sarno, are bringing mushrooms to their fullest, meatiest potential in ready meals now available in the U.S. And companies like Forage Hyperfoods are putting functional mushrooms like chaga into coffee to boost brain function and help reduce caffeine jitters.
While farm-to-table still prevails, the new frontier is lab-to-table. Through the pandemic we saw supply-chain crisis and astronomical price increases in sustainable food sources so now more than ever, people are turning to innovations happening in the lab. Plant-based food company, Wamame, has made a breakthrough in its Wagyu beef and researchers at the University of Guelph have discovered how to make a stretchy, oozier vegan mozzarella cheese. And that’s just the beginning. As the cultivated meat space moves closer to US regulatory approval, companies like the Bay Area startup Wildtype have secured distribution for its cell-based fish.
6. Psychedelic wellness
We can’t talk about planetary wellness without tackling personal wellness first and foremost. Depression, anxiety, insomnia, and other mental health issues are at all-time highs, and the Covid pandemic has only exacerbated stress for millions.
Fortunately, one of the most promising categories for wellness is also one of the most sustainable. Psychedelic plants and fungi top are seeing more regulations support therapeutic use, as high profile celebrities are speaking out about their experiences and entrepreneurs are betting big on the healing modalities of the future. Legal treatments such as ketamine, are seeing a rise in demand, with centers such as Field Trip Health and Nushama leading the way.
7. Fine dining goes eco
Whether you’re back to dining out or still ordering in, there are going to be a lot of sustainable, plant-based meals on offer—no drive-thru required. Spots like Copenhagen’s Geranium and New York City’s Eleven Madison have taken meat off the menu, and bakeries like Beverly Hills’ Chaumont and Ladurée offering up vegan croissants and macarons. Yes, you can still get meatless Whoppers and McPlants, but the hottest food trend in 2022 will be fancy. And oh-so delicious.
8. Clean fragrances
Natural fragrances are as old as time, but over the last half-century, we’ve polluted the industry in ways unimaginable, with all manner of toxic chemicals and unnatural ingredients. That trend is thankfully coming to an end with sustainable and clean fragrance brands like Le Labo prioritizing natural scents without the harmful ingredients. Better for your body, better for the planet, the aromatherapeutic benefits of clean fragrances are making a comeback.
9. Easy beauty
Forget contouring and all the rest of it. Lockdown minimalism is still on trend and it’s not only better for your skin, but it’s the most sustainable beauty regimen out there. The new year will see grey hair get its glow up, simplified skincare regimens like French beauty, and a shift toward zero-waste personal care products including bar shampoo and conditioner.
10. Skincare by men
Gender stereotypes are so over. Men are getting into the skincare game in a big, beautiful way. That doesn’t mean it’s skincare by men for men—quite the opposite. Like singer Pharrell emphasizes with his Humanrace collection, and Harry Styles with Pleasing, it’s personal care for all bodies. And if that’s not exciting enough, the focus on clean ingredients and sustainable packagings should seal the deal.