Guest blog by Christal Earle, founder of Brave Soles
Circular fashion is inspiring, exciting and filled with endless opportunities. But it can also seem a little overwhelming to know where to start.
I have come to realize that one of the best ways to get started is to think about how complete a circle looks and feels.
Nature is circular.
It regenerates itself all the time. In fact, every living thing in the natural world (with the exception of humans) is part of an unbroken circle of taking something in and giving off the waste that can add to the process of nature. It may ebb and flow in many different ways, but it remains circular in it’s ultimate journey.
This is why it’s all the more shocking that we find ourselves at this moment in history, dealing with so much of our natural world being damaged and fragile. For millennia, we have been (often unknowingly) keeping almost everything circular. However, with the onset of mass production and the industrial age, we lost the plot on how to keep it all in the loop.
It’s somehow like we have been overpowered by the lesser angel of our natures, displacing peace of mind with a gnawing urge to keep on getting the latest and greatest.
Yet, for most of us (myself included) we truly want to do better AND we also love new, beautiful things. So what do we do when we are torn between two lovers?
What if those two things didn’t need to come at such a high cost to everyone and everything else? What if the desire for new, beautiful and variety could be met with classic, long lasting and versatility in some of those everyday choices that we get to make?
The good news is that what was lost can be found. And it’s not as difficult as we have been led to believe. That’s why we are starting with what we know and love: fashion.
We like to identify as being a circular fashion brand. At least we are working every day on getting better at being more circular-ish. Nature is circular, and the journey back to circular fashion is an exciting, beautiful, messy path.
So why not join us.
Wondering how we can do more of this together? Let’s start from the soles up, shall we?
From time to time, life happens. The soles of our shoes can come unglued in a spot, or unexpected things happen that will cause them to pull apart. We have wrestled with how to handle this. Do we give people a brand new pair and tell them to toss the old ones? Do we set a hard stop on warranty time if we believe that our products should be a long term relationship for our customers? How do we hold ourselves and our suppliers accountable for unseen mishaps?
These are real (and messy) circular-ish questions, don’t you think?
These questions have resulted in a few decisions for us. If we declare we are a circular fashion company, then when the rubber meets the road (see what we did there?!?) and something happens to our products that isn’t in alignment with our values of being long lasting and kind to the earth, then we will also take the lead and be responsible. We are committed to helping customers find solutions that can honour both their need for their footwear to be awesome and our mission to keep things circular. This gives both of us peace of mind.
In the end, one of the things we are realizing is that like most things in life, circular fashion is not one size fits all. It’s nuanced - and that’s not a bad thing. Perhaps, it might even be a superpower because of the relationships and transparency it provides all of us to share together.
So, here’s to thinking differently about what we own:
We can know the story behind how it was sourced and created
We can know it’s journey from that place of origin to our lives
We can know that if something happens to that item, there are more helpful solutions than simply discarding it
This is why we will always be creating items that work to transcend time and trends. When we learn to appreciate the journey behind what we own, we learn to care about it and look for ways to keep it. This is a unique opportunity bestowed on us humans - and we personally think it’s an amazing one to live out every day.
As the founder and chief optimist of Brave Soles, Christal Earle calls both Toronto and Cabarete, D.R. home. From starting a global charity in 2000 to living between two countries for 10 years, she has kind of done it all.
Brave Soles was born out of her love for people, planet and great shoes.