sustainable goods used to mean dressing like a 1960s
flower child and buying products that looked like
recycled brown paper and were only available at certain
no longer the case.
products ó a generic term for green/natural/organic
ó have moved into the mainstream. Not only are they
easier to find, but many look as cool or beautiful as
the next item on the shelf. Consumers now donít have
to sacrifice style for sustainability.
Duber-Smith, marketing professor at Metropolitan State
University of Denver who was involved in the green
marketing industry for 25 years, said larger
corporations saw consumersí rising interest in
sustainability and bought long-established green brands
like Burtís Bees (owned by Clorox) and Tomís of
Maine (owned by Colgate-Palmolive) and gave them much
distribution also coincided with consumersí growing
interest in aesthetics and functionality, which started
in the early 2000s, popularized by Apple, Duber-Smith
natural and organic brands that were large enough to get
out of their hippie-granola look were trying to attract
buyers Ö and it involved a lot of this sort of
aesthetic improvement," he said.
Perkins, president of the Cradle to Cradle Products
Innovation Institute, a third-party certifier of
products designed with safe materials that can be
perpetually cycled, said building-supply makers and
personal-care manufacturers were pioneers of combining
aesthetics and sustainability.
named firms like Method, which built its platform around
a biodegradable cleaning product contained in a bottle
attractive enough to be left out on the counter. Herman
Miller office chairs were manufactured to reuse
materials. However, the marketing focus was not on
recycling, but that the chair was beautifully designed.
sustainability is moving into clothing, he said.
apparel is not and cannot be a hemp long skirt or
Birkenstock shoes. Not to criticize those products, but
the idea is that beauty has embedded in it an impact and
a story," Perkins said.
pointed to luxury designers like Stella McCartney and
Maiyet who put fashion and sustainability at the
are looking more and more to make the right choices
around materials with a positive supply-chain impact.
The luxury market is leading the way with some of these
aspirational products that youíre seeing,"
Carey, director of global business development at
Lenzing Fibers, which makes textiles from renewable wood
fibers like eucalyptus and beech under the brand names
Tencel and Modal, says thereís been demand for
garments thatís "not all the same paper bag kind
fabrics are found in clothes from The Gap, Victoriaís
Secret, Patagonia and Eileen Fisher, making it easier to
wear sustainable even to work.
becomes a total lifestyle. Itís not just my weekend
wear is sustainable. And you look at the brands who
really focus on (fashion and sustainability), they offer
that whole variety," Carey said.
Skvarla, co-founder with former MTV star and author
Lauren Conrad of The Little Market, a Fair
Trade-certified online marketplace that sells goods made
by women artisans in developing countries, said Internet
access has helped artisans apply contemporary designs to
their traditional methods.
now have a sense of what styles are popular elsewhere.
That helps them create products that thereís a demand
for, whereas 10 years ago, artisans made what they
always made and hopefully tourists were buying them. Now
theyíre getting more feedback and insight into what
people want and theyíre able to take their skill and
use it for something thatís more likely to sell,"