Fragrance in 2024: industry shifts, responsible perfumery, and trend setting according to indie brand founder

Fragrance in 2024 industry shifts responsible perfumery and trend setting

In the world of fragrance, staying ahead of the curve is key to success. However, for Marc-Antoine Barrois—the renowned perfumer and founder of his eponymous brand whose brand has recently seen rising success in the US fragrance market—following trends is far from a priority.

CosmeticsDesign spoke with Barrois for greater insight into his approach to fragrance creation, the industry’s evolving landscape, and his forecast for future global fragrance industry trends.

Responsible fragrance trends: challenges and solutions

“As an independent brand, I don’t try to follow trends,” Barrois asserted, adding, “I’m conscious that it’s easier for me to take risks, which allows me to try to set trends.”

In alignment with this ideology regarding the product formulation process, Barrois made a significant move five years ago towards making his perfumes more respectful by eliminating preservatives and controversial UV filters from his formulations. This move, he explained, is an example of a broader trend in the industry towards greater responsibility.

“I believe that these days, making the industry more responsible is a new trend in perfumery,” Barrois shared. However, he also acknowledged that embracing this trend comes with its challenges.

“It’s a different mindset, and it’s not easy to address such changes,” Barrois admitted. “First, actors need to be convinced that there is something to improve in perfumery, and then they have to adapt to a new reality of products with a real shelf life.”

But where there are challenges, there are also solutions, and Barrois emphasized the importance of taking incremental steps toward change tailored to each company’s needs.

For example, “when we took off the plastic wrapping on our products, we replaced it with a security seal,” Barrois shared. “And when we removed preservatives, we had to secure our logistics to ensure that no products would remain hidden on the back of a shelf,” he added.

The driving forces behind today’s fragrance trends

Collaboration with suppliers has also been crucial in implementing these changes, such as producing smaller batches more frequently to maintain product freshness.

Despite the industry’s shift towards natural formulations, Barrois maintained that the trend towards 99% natural formulations is surprising. The trend is a step back in terms of diversity, he explained, as many natural ingredients are now regulated or forbidden by IFRA regulations.

“When I met with perfumer Quentin Bisch, he explained the necessity to create something new and unique using new captive molecules,” Barrois reflected. “Today, these amazing molecules allow us to create exceptional perfumes that we couldn’t achieve without them.”

Regarding regulatory compliance, Barrois explained that he sees the upcoming MoCRA requirements as primarily administrative. Instead, he advised, the real focus should be addressing allergens and eliminating harmful ingredients like preservatives to ensure a safer industry.

In terms of the driving forces behind these trends, Barrois added that he sees a symbiotic relationship between societal evolution and brand initiatives.

“I believe at some points, the trends are set by the evolution of society, and then brands and industrials follow suit,” he said.

The future of perfumery

As for the future, Barrois shared that he hopes for a more sustainable industry where products are clean and environmentally responsible.

“In terms of trends, I am dreaming of a much more sustainable industry,” Barrois concluded, as “we all have a role to play in showing that our products can be clean and guilt-free in terms of the environment.

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