In the CircleCircular economy business model innovation with a social cause
Circular economy business model innovation with a social cause.
Innovation throughout the construction of the basic products that can be completely biodegradable or recyclable, incorporating a social cause to support refugee women. To create the foundation of a circular business model in order to help further unlock and implement circularity in consumption and disposal phases, while creating social impact.
The idea behind the project is to create a circular capsule collection with a social cause. The product will be designed with circular material components such as regenerative organic cotton. This approach will enable the recyclability and biodegradability of the products, thus, the potential to re-capture both environmental and economic value from each product.
RAKHA TEKSTIL LTD. (Turkey)
Rakha was founded in 2010 as a sustainable and contemporary women’s wear brand. Now, the brands focus is to further optimise and establish a circular system for their collections.
UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE (United Kingdom)
Dr. Doroteya Vladimirova is Director of the Regenerative Business Models Research Programme and a Senior Research Associate at the Centre for Industrial Sustainability, Institute for Manufacturing at the University of Cambridge. Doroteya works with global brands and SMEs in the fashion and textile industry to support them in their transition to circular economy business models.
We have been exploring the idea of circular economy business models implementation for Rakha with Dr Doroteya Vladimirova who has been my supervisor from the University of Cambridge Institute for Manufacturing. This was right after finalising my thesis entitled Circular Economy Business Model Innovations In the Fashion Industry: Opportunities for SME’s. This idea led us to forming In the Circle project. A project which we could experiment with different business model innovations throughout the life cycle of our garments. In the Circle Capsule Collection With a Cause is where we started. By beginning with the design of circular garments and to experiment with how we can circulate these throughout each stage of the life cycle. With a cause is the part where we embed a triple bottom line approach to the project which does not only involve planet and profit but also involves people.
THE BIRTH OF THE PROJECT:
We saw a gap. We thought that with our knowledge and experience we could definitely create a complete circular collection. Not only that, but with the power of collaboration we knew we could do more than that. Our passion to support women wasn’t new, we had in the past won an award from the Unltd. to support less advantaged women through teaching them skills in what we know best which is garment making. As a result, we wanted to curate a project which could present these 2 things that we are most passionate about.
Especially in Turkey right now, there are millions of refugee women trying to sustain a life while support their children under very tough circumstances. We felt the urge to do something about this. Supporting people and protecting the planet while not only protecting but also creating better products that can have either multiple life-cycle or become nutrition for the environment.
THE CREATIVE PROCESS:
While we had so much fun in building the designs and the basic capsule collection which we really loved we encountered a lot of difficulties. Primarily in the sourcing and sampling due to restrictions and limited working hours of all our suppliers due to COVID-19. Of course we never thought that this would have been the case before February 2020. Despite all this we have now managed to create the collection and with the support of our partners we have
managed to build the project.
Our collaboration with the University of Cambridge Institute for Manufacturing has been very valuable, especially in relation to building circular economy business models which are viable and feasible for the company. As the founder of Rakha I am truly thankful for all the support that Dr Doroteya Vladimirova has given and continuing to give to the project and the brand.
The future of the project will encompass the implementation of further circular economy business model innovations for the use and end of life phases. We will continue to explore and experiment with the most viable business models for the brand and the future of the project. We will continue investigating opportunities that can help us further develop the research and development of the circular business model innovations we are working on.
We believe that the future of sustainable brands could be better through the right collaborations and partnerships.