Brands can be fantastic. They can also be not so fantastic but, opportunity wise, they are fantastic. Brand's are a mark of quality, a mark of pride and normally have a lot of emotional connection to the consumer who regular place their trust in them. There are so many cheaper alternatives, 'own-brand' or no brand but still many people would choose their favourite branded option over the knock-off.
'Sportswear brand Adidas has launched a prototype shoe with an upper made entirely from yarns and filaments produced using plastic salvaged from the ocean
British designer Alexander Taylor's running shoe for Adidas was unveiled during an event last week for Parley for the Oceans – an initiative that encourages creatives to repurpose ocean waste and raise awareness of the growing environmental issue.'
Although this is a prototype, the concept, design and awareness it creates is all over positive. I don't believe many will purchase these shoes for their aesthetic, although I personally think they look pretty unique, it's more the message behind the shoes are what Adidas are trying to sell. Adidas have a huge following of supporters and by making this large audience aware of the dire state of our oceans owing to our carelessness and pollutions, it could make their customers think about the impact they are having and encourage them to change.
"Adidas has long been a leader in sustainability, but this partnership allows us to tap into new areas and create innovative materials and products for our athletes," (Adidas executive board member Eric Liedtke)
Although Adidas label themselves as the 'leader' as far as sustainability is concerned, like nature, rivalling brands are opportunists.
Puma are trying to gain the 'greenest' title with HQ's run on green energy, biodegradable bags and most famously the collaboration with Yves Behar to create 'Clever Little Bag'.
'our bag will reduce water, energy and diesel consumption on the manufacturing level alone by more than 60% per year...8,500 tons less paper consumed, 20 million Megajoules of electricity saved, 1 million liters less fuel oil used and 1 million liters of water conserved. During transport 500,000 liters of diesel is saved and lastly, by replacing traditional shopping bags the difference in weight will save almost 275 tons of plastic.'
Although the aesthetics are great, the concept truly deserves the name 'clever' from the experience it provides the customer. The retail experience has been changed as customers no longer need both a bag and box and are therefore left with less waste and a product that is potentially reusable. The greatest thing of all may be that it doesn't look green. To the customers, it may just be a more convenient and therefore the demand will be increase.
.Nike, arguably the biggest in their field, take a different approach to sustainability. They have attempted to take the 'eco' look as Adidas did but it didn't seem to work for them. One of the most notable examples of this was the Nike 'Considered' line, which made use of sustainable materials such as hemp. The concept was a huge flop and some of the shoes were labelled 'Air Hobbits' - although I don't see anything wrong with looking or acting like a hobbit - "what about second breakfasts?". However, this didn't mean Nike gave up on the eco idea. Instead they took a subtler approach.
'The lesson for Nike was that its green innovations should continue, but its customers shouldn't be able to tell. "We want to do more and say less,"'
Nike are now producing Air Jordan's made from old trainers and the new line-up now includes eco-friendly basketball, football, soccer, tennis, and running shoes.
With brands supporting a more personal narrative, their customers are made more aware of issues and encouraged to enjoy their favourite pieces in a eco-friendly version without compromising on quality or losing that badge of honour. You can make the assumption for yourself what the real agenda may be behind these sustainable decisions but without a doubt they are making some sort of impact in their field.
Bloomberg.com. (2009). Nike Quietly Goes Green. [online] Available at: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2009-06-11/nike-quietly-goes-green [Accessed 22 Oct. 2016].
Mills, P. (2015). Adidas unveils sports shoes made from recycled ocean waste. [online] Dezeen. Available at: http://www.dezeen.com/2015/07/08/adidas-parley-sports-shoe-alexander-taylor-recycled-ocean-plastic/ [Accessed 22 Oct. 2016].
Warmann, C. (2010). Clever Little Bag by Yves Béhar for Puma | Dezeen. [online] Dezeen. Available at: http://www.dezeen.com/2010/04/14/clever-little-bag-by-yves-behar-for-puma/ [Accessed 22 Oct. 2016].
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