A New Epoch in the Fashion Industry is Emerging: From Conscious Fashion to Circular Fashion to Compassionate Fashion

The idea of “conscious fashion” has been around for quite some time now. We have also heard Slow fashion, Ethical fashion, Green fashion and Sustainable fashion the last couple of years.

Over the last three years, we have also witnessed another concept entering the fashion stage, i.e. the concept of ‘Circular Fashion’. It first crossed my mind, while I was reading the book Cradle and Cradle and I started to delve in this concept more and more. Circular fashion, which is based on the notion of a circular economy, was coined by H&M’s sustainability staff. With a growing number of fashion brands, retailers, organizations and sustainable fashion advocates now embracing the notion of a circular economy, some even refer to a circular fashion movement. I started to embrace it and wanted to be part of this movement.

As the circular fashion concept continues to spread, a third concept is now emerging – the concept of “Compassionate Fashion”. One of the central foci of Compassionate Fashion is to show Respect for workers, societies, animals and the natural environment. It has always been at the core of the ethical, slow and sustainable fashion discourse. Yet, the wider fashion industry is now opening up to a fundamental shift from simply being aware and conscious, to also feeling true compassion towards how workers, societies and ecosystems are affected across the supply chains. How cool is that? Thus, you show really as a consumer that you care.In other words, a shift is taking place where business owners do not only ask themselves “What should we do, based on our knowledge and awareness of any negative impacts?” to also asking “What do we want to do based on our heart-felt values and compassion for others?”. Naturlich, as curious as I am, I feel compassion towards our planet and all beings in it. So, this transition from mere consciousness to genuine compassion means that companies begin to lead ‘from their heart’ as opposed to simply ‘from their minds.’ The ambition of such companies will not simply be to minimize or compensate for any adverse impacts, but rather to prevent any negative impacts at all costs, and to create positive outcomes and long-lasting benefits to others. This new approach goes very strongly with buddhist beliefs, and the idea of doing good, rather than just focusing on doing less bad.

Thus, while a mind-led company makes choices primarily with its rational mind, a heart-led company is guided by what it believes to be true, good and morally right – from the standpoint of all affected. Every action is aligned with the company’s core values, and the company feels an urge to make decisions based on its care and compassion for others. Some fashion companies have always been guided by their heart-felt values. Yet, now we can see an increase in such a company character, especially among newly established businesses. We started Ravela with our heart-felt values towards the planet and human beings. The clothing industry is one of the most trafficked industries in the worlds, especially concerning child labor.

At the same time, consumers too are expressing a growing aspiration to act according to their personal values and compassion for others (be it humans, animals, ecosystems or other cultures). This deeper care may be expressed in various ways; some consumers have a special bond to animals, I personally, meditate with my cat and try to get her opinion, how she wants to be treated. Further, others feel a strong concern for the oceans and any health impacts on sea birds and aquatic organisms, as the textiles we buy determine its carbon footprint on our planet.

In sum, while the consciousness of ethical and circular fashion will continue to grow, we are currently already seeing a new type of business model in the fashion industry, that entails all beings in the universe. The manufacturer, consumer and all beings on earth.  The continuous efforts to collaborate together in the fashion and textile industry will lead, with the fundamental idea to be and do good out of compassion for others and with choices and actions guided by the heart. Be sustainable and Buy sustainable, that is our motto at Ravela. We do care and we both Yesim and Nikki give our hearts in the whole concept. May all beings be blessed and happy!!

Yesim Ozbarlas

Co-creator of Ravela, LLC