Sophie is the Manager of Trends for EMEA, responsible for ensuring content in the region is insightful, while also working with the wider team on developing new trends.

German high-end footwear brand nat-2 has created a new sustainable, vegan sneaker made from plant-based mushroom leather and recycled plastic water bottles.

Nat-2

The sneakers are the result of a collaboration between Munich-based nat-2 and Zvnder, a company that produces mushroom leather-based accessories. The sustainable shoes feature an exterior of mushroom-based leather, eco-cotton terry cloth and a PET plastic made from recycled single-use water bottles. The soles of the shoes are made from cork, making for a vegan, organic and chemical-free product.

The vegan revolution

Veganism has entered the mainstream in recent years as people change their consumption habits for health or ethical reasons. According to Mintel research, 46% of German consumers say that concerns about the environmental impact of meat production have caused them to limit their meat consumption. Naturally, the impact of this has been most immediately felt in food retail and foodservice, with Dutch supermarket chain Jumbo launching a new range of 40 vegetarian and vegan products and McDonald’s trialling its first ever vegan burger, the McVegan, in Finland.

While the food and drink sector may be the one most affected by these new demands, free-from, vegan or ethical labels are increasingly being used as prominent selling points in other sectors too, with beauty and fashion among them. For example, Superdrug recently opened a dedicated pop-up store for its own-brand products based around its vegan credentials, while a number of fashion brands, including Versace and Gucci, are swearing off fur in a bid to appeal to changing attitudes.

nat-2’s decision to add an element of sustainability to its own vegan shoes through the use of recycled water bottles is also significant, with the desire for environmentally friendly products likely to be shared by those already on the hunt for products that are animal-free. As a high-end brand, nat-2 also taps into a Millennial-led trend towards the adoption of sustainable and vegan lifestyles being an aspirational one, with kudos likely to be brought to the wider brand through the launch.