Hello Cocorosers 💗
As we bid farewell to the yesterdays of 2023, it's time to stride ahead and put our best foot forward to welcome in the new dawns of 2024. There's always much excitement about what the new year will bring and the anticipation of new developments and trends that will start to take shape throughout the year.
For us, as we eagerly welcome in 2024, we are poised to showcase yet another exciting year of footwear design and development. But before we even get into some of the specific footwear trends, let's take a moment to consider some of the overarching behavioural trends that have gained momentum over the past years. This will help to give us further insight as to why new product development is funneled into certain areas.
Consumers in 2024 will increasingly support brands with great products, great service and that demonstrate purpose. We, as consumers, will lean towards sustainability; mindful about brands that demonstrate a commitment to environmental responsibility at all touch points, from product development to production processes and materials to sales initiatives.
Beyond sustainability, consumers are embracing conscious consumerism by supporting brands that align with their values, whether it's social responsibility or community engagement. Research points towards consumers gravitating towards more niche and local brands. In reality, this still feels premature, particularly if we consider some of the more prominent and global names that continue to grow year on year. Regardless, there is a clear trend taking shape that consumers are valuing unique products, quality craftsmanship and the authenticity and honesty that smaller, independent brands can offer and in whom consumers choose to associate with.
Specifically for footwear, seamlessly merging fashion with function, versatility, sustainability, and comfort is key. We live in busy times, often spinning multiple plates. We need footwear that will keep up with our busy lifestyles! Functional comfort that lends physical and mental confidence to consumers will prevail and continue to gain a stronger foothold.
Coupled with this, brands will showcase their dedication to eco-friendly choices, whether by integrating innovative, bio-based materials such as vegan cactus leather into their designs or by continuing to celebrate the natural qualities of traditional leather.
So without further ado, let's delve deeper and explore some of the key trends that will not only complement your outfits but also help you step confidently into the New Year.
The Ballet Flat: The Phoenix Rises Again
There has been much talk over the past few years about the return of the humble ballet flat but alas, there was far more talk than action! That was until 2023, when the ballet flat exploded back onto the scene, reclaiming its status as a timeless and versatile footwear choice. Expect an even more triumphant return of the ballet flat as we head into spring 2024.
One of the reasons for the ballet flats' spectacular comeback is because of its effortless adaptability, offering a chic alternative to heels or trainers. From casual outings to more formal events, the ballet flat effortlessly bridges the gap. These high-performance flats excel in functional comfort and cater to the demands of modern, fast-paced lifestyles.
There will be an array of ballet flats to select from this year, from soft and comfortable leather flats to those made using yarn from recycled plastic bottles and, by way of new product development, those made using vegan, bio-based materials (more about this below).
Trainers with Purpose
Trainers have secured their position as a prominent fashion statement and cultural icon and, contrary to some reports, will continue to dominate footwear trends. What we'll start seeing more of will be a convergence of functional comfort and aesthetics with a sense of purpose to bring an even greater meaning to a pair of everyday wear trainers.
Brands are increasingly incorporating sustainable, bio-based and recycled materials to express their commitment to sustainability and contribute to positive change in the fashion industry.
Additionally, trainers with purpose are often associated with collaborations between brands and charitable organisations to support specific causes, with a percentage of the proceeds going towards charitable efforts. This blending of fashion and philanthropy allows individuals to make a statement with their footwear, showcasing their support for important social issues.
As for ourselves, we recently launched our ground-breaking range of Kew trainers, made using plant-based, organic cactus leather and with a natural rubber sole incorporating approximately 30% recycled cork.
Since 2020, we've partnered with The Honeypot Children's Charity and have grown our charitable collection to include our Hoxton Rainbow and Queen Bee leather trainers and our natural wax Honeysuckle and Elderflower candle. We are set to launch an exciting addition to our Honeypot Collection later this year, so please keep your eyes peeled. The Honeypot Collection is our heartfelt stride towards making a positive impact on the lives of those who tirelessly care for others. We believe in the power of fashion with purpose, and with your support, we aim to create a tangible difference in the lives of young carers.
Responsibly, Sustainably Vegan
Sustainability has emerged as a significant factor influencing the footwear industry. Consumers are increasingly conscious of the environmental impact of their purchases, reflecting a broader shift towards sustainable and ethical consumption. This has prompted brands to explore eco-friendly materials and production processes.
Choosing vegan footwear is easy. There is a plethora of choice. But choosing vegan footwear made using plant-based leather as opposed to synthetic or faux leather isn't so easy. Cactus leather has emerged as one of the pioneering plant-based leathers due to its similarities with animal leathers (and as a plant, its incredibly sustainable characteristics). Soft and flexible, this innovative material is still new and far from being considered mainstream. However, as a trend, we'll start to see an upwards move towards vegan options of plant-based leathers as they become more accessible to our every day. Our vegan Kew trainer range, made using organic cactus leather, is a great example of how a brand is pushing the boundaries of footwear design and manufacture when it comes to creating responsible vegan footwear.
Bio-based materials are composed from plant-derived biomass materials, largely bamboo fibre and corn, both of which are renewable resources. Cactus leather is a type of bio-based material. However, whereby the average bio-based material utilises approximately 15-30% biomass materials, the specific cactus leather we use is USDA certified as being 65% bio-based content.
Bio-based materials provide a more environmentally friendly alternative to synthetic leather and the development of these materials represents a conscious effort by the fashion industry to reduce its environmental impact and embrace more sustainable manufacturing practices. The incorporation of sustainable materials not only reduces the environmental footprint of the footwear industry but also promotes a shift towards more responsible and ethical consumer choices.
Naturally Leather: Eco-Friendly and Long-Lasting
Natural, sustainable, and biodegradable, animal leather, if treated properly, is still the most malleable and durable material to use for footwear manufacture and comfort, due to its pliable, breathable, and long-lasting qualities. Utilising leather from sustainable sources adds an extra layer of eco-friendliness to this material. Responsible farming practices and proper waste management in the leather industry can minimise the environmental impact, making it a conscientious choice for those concerned about the ecological footprint of their purchases.
Natural leather not only aligns with eco-friendly principles but also provides unmatched comfort, durability, and adaptability. As consumers increasingly prioritise sustainable choices, the enduring appeal of leather as a footwear material persists, reflecting its timeless combination of practicality and environmental responsibility.
It is clear that 2024's consumer landscape will extend beyond the realm of great products and excellent services. Customer loyalty will be increasingly drawn towards mindful brands that demonstrate a further commitment to social and environmental responsibility. In essence, these conscious consumer choices will help shape our future and drive positive change.
At Cocorose London, our focus is about mindfulness and our social and environmental impact. Having implemented initiatives such as our plant-a-tree and shoe recycling schemes; small-batch productions to minimise wastage; quality handcrafting; the use of recycled materials; and supporting charities, our aim for 2024 is very much about continuing to explore the use of bio-based plant materials in our collections and working towards minimising the footwear industry's impact on the environment.
Janan & Team Cocorose xx