New sustainable materials are welcome in the fashion industry. But does the consumer want it? PhD candidate Xin Gao will receive his doctorate on 5 April for a study on the acceptance of new sustainable materials in the fashion world. And yes, if it resembles leather, then the consumer is quite open to pineapple leather.
Pineapple leaf leather is what is called a repurposed material: existing material given a new use. ‘Typical backpack material is cotton or leather. Pineapple leaf differs from that,’ Gao says. ‘I call that atypical. I researched why consumers find something atypical and what questions and emotions that raises.’
Gao used a series of tests to figure out the influence of functionality, durability and originality on people’s choice of purchase. The test subjects had to make do with text, without pictures. ‘That way you exclude the aesthetic factor. If consumers see pictures, personal taste starts to play a role. I specifically wanted to see what other factors play a role.’