The face of fashion is shifting. While the emphasis in the industry is to provide consumers with fabulous new designs and products each season, a new paradigm is emerging: social and eco-consciousness.
What is it made from? Who is making it? Where is it manufactured? Who is benefiting from the sale? Consumers are looking beyond the label, seeking substance with their style. And businesses are responding with fair trade practices, use of organic materials and Seva (the Sanskrit word meaning spirit of service). Many companies are giving percentages of sales and profits to organizations and charities across the globe.
A company that’s leading the charge is the Y Catalog (theYcatalog.com). The Y Catalog is a project launched to support the budding Eco Fashion industry and promote companies who are giving back to make a difference on a global level. The original founders, Hermas and Keri Lassalle, based the idea on combining a great shopping experience with the consumer’s built-in ability to give back. “Seva is the highest goal of yoga and a way to give and receive at the same time. In our desire to find a way to merge sustainable, responsible commerce, the Y Catalog was born,” says Keri Lassalle.
This sumptuous online catalog offers a selection of lifestyle and yoga clothing, beauty products, inspirational CDs and DVDs for one-stop shopping! Ten percent of all purchases made through the catalog go toward the charitable cause supported by the designer(s) of the items purchased.
“Shoppers spend no more than they normally would through other outlets and the charities benefit. Everyone wins,” says Hermas Lassalle, co-founder of the catalog. “Our vendors have enthusiastically embraced this project and are truly our partners in helping people give back to the global community.” Nuala, Be Present, Yoga Tribe & Culture, Buddha Nose and Prana are just some of the amazing vendors featured.
Amy Galper is the owner and founder of Buddha Nose (buddhanose.com), a personal care company and participant in the Y Catalog. Galper wanted to be part of the project because it supported her ideals and how she chooses to spend her consumer dollars. “I always shop with a particular awareness of where my money is going and how it will be used. I make a concerted effort to frequent smaller, local community-based and supported shops and purchase products that have a connectedness to the community.
The company Lotus Love Beauty by the Shanti Project (lotuslovebeauty.com) offers an intoxicating collection of natural herbal and floral beauty bars, bath salts, oils, lotions and candles. Every product is 100% vegan and never tested on animals. A portion of each product sold supports the Shanti Project, which gives proceeds to those in the greatest need.“There are a thousand ways to run a business and make a profit. I want to do what I love and be an agent of positive change in our global community,” says Jessica Gulati, owner of Lotus Love Beauty and founder of the Shanti Project. “My philosophy is to make my products with love by hand and then share and do seva with those same hands. The smiles you get in return are priceless.”
Hiroko Kurihara Designs (hirokokurihara.com) creates stunning scarves and blankets. With each sale, they donate a scarf or blanket made of recycled polar fleece to a member of your local community who is homeless or in transition. “We felt the need to create a business model of direct giving that went beyond corporate community involvement”, says Hiroko Kurihara.Seva is one of the most profound ways we can put our spiritual knowledge into action. It is the art of asking, “How may I serve you?” or “Can I help you?”
Doing service connects us with our ability to love and to interact with the greatest good. By consciously shopping and choosing to put our money towards goods and services that benefit others, we are practicing Seva. “Seva is not something we do in addition to everything else that we are doing in our lives. It is something we do while we are going about the business of everyday living. It is a simple, beautiful, elegant way to live,” says Keri Lassalle.
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