How do companies communicate their ‘sustainable’ material innovations on company websites?

Claudia Henninger, Taylor Brydges, Aurelie Le Normand, Shuchan Luo, Luis Quijiano, Jane Wood, Songyi Yan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The fashion industry has long been criticised for its unsustainable practices in terms of production processes and the materials used to create garments and accessories. As such, sustainability in fashion is not new per se, but what is classified as ‘sustainable’ is changing as technology and new innovations are continuously emerging.
This article focuses on material innovations centring on future materials that have been created to replace existing materials including, but not limited to animal skins, plastics, and other materials classified as ‘vegan.’ These existing materials have previously raised concerns regarding sustainability practices. Thus, a key question that currently lacks in the research and is addressed within this article is: (1) whether these material innovations are ‘sustainable’, (2) to what extent are they sustainable, and (3) what might make them a ‘better’ alternative.
This article provides a critical account of such innovations by performing a comparative secondary analysis of 21 ‘innovative’ materials that are currently used or could be used by luxury fashion brands and fall within the self-proclaimed categories of either vegan, plant-based, plastic-free, or sustainable. As these future materials are often seen as replacements for leather and synthetic materials derived from fossil fuels, this analysis provides insights into these materials, alongside how and what information is promoted to consumers on a corporate website.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Sustainable Fashion & Textiles
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 5 Jun 2023


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