Future Fragrance

The new wave perfume houses making uncompromising conscious scents

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Time-honoured it may be, but the traditional world of perfume isn’t for everyone. Now, looking to turn secrecy into transparency, and synthetics into natural ingredients, there’s a new wave of fragrance renegades on the scene. As the global presence of all-natural, conscious scent gains momentum, we meet some of the movement’s main players, who together are paving a cleaner path for the future of fragrance.

HERETIC | Founder: Douglas Little
City: New York

HERETIC IS… by definition, one who differs in opinion from the established ideals of the masses. We have chosen to reject the synthetic methods of perfume manufacturing that have become the status quo. We produce 100% naturally derived fragrances made with no synthetics, no aroma-chemicals and never tested on animals – as good on the inside as they are on the outside.

THE MISSION... To create 100% naturally derived products that never compromise on ingredients or packaging and to show how provocative and contemporary “natural” can be. We think nature is really sexy. We believe in radical transparency. We believe fragrance should be fun and never pretentious.

THE CONS OF CONVENTIONAL PERFUME… The lack of regulation that governs conventional perfume ingredients. Fragrance gets a free pass—it’s the only ingredient allowed to hide under a cloud of flower petals, though it might contain synthetic, allergy-provoking substances. Most customers would be shocked to know their favourite fragrance that boasts French Tuberose harvested by nuns in Grasse on the full moon likely has no real tuberose in it, but an inexpensive, synthetic replica, made from a petroleum by-product, and other chemicals.

ON DE-GENDERING SCENT… Gender based fragrance feels antiquated. In my custom blending sessions, women bring a men’s fragrance they want to reference for their “signature scent” and men light up like Christmas morning when they smell fruits and florals. Fragrance is deeply personal, an extension of your identity. Why should this be predetermined by marketing? I believe we have aspects of masculine and feminine that live within us all. Fragrance can connect us to these, allowing us to reach greater connection to our emotions, thoughts, desires and sensuality.

ON THE FUTURE OF FRAGRANCE… I believe we are at the precipice of a revolution. People are going to look for perfume that goes beyond just smelling good; not only what’s in the fragrance, but what can that fragrance do that goes deeper than cosmetic application. Gone are the days of buying one fragrance and sticking to it. We now buy and wear fragrance like fashion – I want to smell like vintage lipstick today and tomorrow a smouldering fireplace. What’s niche today will become mainstream and what’s avant-garde will become niche.

SANA JARDIN | Founder: Amy Christiansen Si-Ahmed
City: Paris

SANA JARDIN IS… Sana Jardin is a clean and sustainable luxury fragrance house that economically empowers Moroccan women through "flower-recycling" from perfume production.

THE MISSION… The main mission of Sana Jardin is to illustrate that we can use the enormous power of luxury business to create a social impact. We want to demonstrate an alternative business model that, if companies are creative with their use of waste and upcycle it for the benefit of the low-income workers in the business, everyone in the supply chain can benefit from this circular economy model. We can help empower people through institutional and systemic change, not charity.

THE CONS OF CONVENTIONAL PERFUME… That perfume companies have a unique opportunity to help low-income people in their supply chain who are often overlooked. Given the fact that floral harvesters are predominantly low-income women with limited employment skills in rural communities, I think fragrance houses have the ability to shine a spotlight on them and enable them to benefit financially from business.

ON DE-GENDERING SCENT… I think it is important to de-gender fragrance because all of us want our true essence to be seen and understood. Perfume is a way to communicate our identity to the world and communicating who we truly are should never be limited based on traditional gender stereotypes because It limits our expression of self.

ON THE FUTURE OF FRAGRANCE… I believe that (as our global consciousness rises and consumers demand more sustainable products) perfume companies will use their unique position as employers of low income people in the supply chain to economically empower them. I hope that all companies can focus more on the flower harvesters and find a way to Incorporate more humanitarian values into the supply chain.

ABEL | Founder: Frances Shoemack
City: Amsterdam

ABEL IS… bringing our customers the best, modern, natural perfume. Going beyond the natural-but-no-compromise that remains core of what we do, we want to be their daily dose of delight.

THE MISSION… We hope to inspire our customers to be more conscious, aware and ultimately, drive change at both a consumer and industry level. Our whole philosophy is one of minimalism and it makes sense for our brand to also voice the value of less is more.

THE CONS OF CONVENTIONAL PERFUME… The lack of transparency. A fragrance can be called natural with as little as 1% natural ingredients, and because all fragrance ingredients are listed under a catch all “parfum” on the label, there is no way of knowing. How frustrated would we be if there was no way of knowing if it was genuine or artificial truffle flavouring in our expensive truffle oil! As consumers, we have the right to know what we are putting on our skin. Not least because if you are paying hundreds of pounds for a fragrance, I think you have the right to know whether it’s genuine.

ON DE-GENDERING SCENT… Gender has no role in how you should smell. Saying men shouldn’t wear florals is like saying they shouldn’t drink Champagne! In 2019, we should be beyond pigeon-holing based on gender, least of all with something as personal, subjective and emotional as scent!

ON THE FUTURE OF FRAGRANCE… I see perfume culture at a similar tipping point to where mainstream wine culture was 20 years ago. Suddenly there's interest in grape varieties, unique growing regions and the people behind the product. This is happening in fragrance as we speak. Consumers are curious, they are becoming more educated and intimate with the product and brand at a deeper level. Whether it's learning about the product lifecycle, or getting creative with layering, I think these more meaningful ways to appreciate fragrance will become the new norm.

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