The fashion and textile industry is one of the leading creators of pollution and waste in the world, with a focus on profit resulting in a quantity over quality approach. The consequence is that traditional trades and artisan crafts have been lost to ‘Fast Fashion’. However, there is a movement towards change, with renewed transparency, accountability and regeneration; a desire to invest in sustainability, traditional crafts, upcycling and handmade artisan fashion and accessories.
Scotland has always been at the forefront of sustainable fashion, with traditional wool, textiles, tweed and tartan produced on a small scale, by artisans, in Scotland. And things are getting better. Contemporary Scottish brands are emerging that offer on-point fashion and accessories, while embracing sustainability and eco-friendly credentials.
We have gathered here an eclectic mix of fashion and style; all are modern, all are Scottish and all are a part of the new wave in sustainable fashion.
Dundee born Hayley grew up with the constant presence of her Gran’s impressive sewing skills. Inspired, she followed a career into fashion where she succeeded in becoming the first person to win the ‘Scottish Young Designer Of The Year’ twice at the Scottish Fashion Awards. Her subsequent clothing brand quickly grew and is commended by many young British singers such as Little Mix and Jessie J. Hayley aims to provide clothing that can be worn by all strong and aspiring woman who wish to showcase their unique styles. Each piece handmade in Scotland, the H.S brand maintains an ethical outlook by using quality materials and biodegradable packaging. Any excess material scraps are transformed into zero waste clothing.
Contemporary and stylish, H.S is one of Scotland’s most fashionable clothing brands.
Scotland’s first vegan clothes retailer, treen offers fashion from ethically sound brands.
The founder of treen, Cat Anderson, grew up in the small village of Doune in Central Scotland. A vegan since 2015, she found it difficult to find clothing that matched her outlook on life and in 2018 ended up starting treen. A fashion graduate with years of experience within the industry, she set about creating a positive space in which to shop sustainably and ethically. Whether it’s for a complete wardrobe overhaul, or a one off piece, treen supports all woman who have decided to reassess what they wear and taken the first step towards slow fashion.
Totty Rocks is an independent designer and boutique situated in the eclectic and fashionable Bruntsfield, Edinburgh. To reduce their carbon footprint, the brand only uses material and designs sourced and produced in Scotland, with each piece created to last a lifetime. Their style remains up to date yet unique, including tartan designs that hint towards the brands’ Scottish heritage without becoming twee. A mix of both traditional and alternative, their designs have attracted many high-profile clients such as Kate Moss, America Ferrera and Gok Wan.
Unique Scottish sea glass jewellery, that is quite unlike anything else out there. Organic, ocean and Scottish folklore designs that have a bohemian edge. A mother and daughter business micro business, Boho Silver search the beaches of Scotland to hand-collect Scottish sea glass. Each piece of sea glass is then incorporated into jewellery using traditional silversmithing techniques. As the glass is tumbled by the sea, salt & sand, each shape is entirely unique, and no piece of jewellery can ever be truly replicated.
By using sea glass, their designs are an eco-friendly and sustainable alternative to traditional mined gemstones. Other designs use coral and shells washed up on west coast beaches in the Highlands of Scotland; these are then cast in silver using an ancient ‘lost wax’ technique.
The silver they use is recycled silver from a reputable UK supplier and from their own scrap silver, and this is what they use in all their designs. Boho Silver also use eco-friendly workbench products and packaging materials to help reduce waste.
A Glasgow based studio invested in saving all jeans destined for landfill.
ReJean is the repurposer of all things denim; unpicking and adding new colours and features to unloved jeans to create a new and unique jacket. With this method, each jacket is individual and can be assembled from up to three pairs of jeans. The result; a beautiful and retro patchwork of material, all with a super cool edge.
Handmade in her Glasgow studio, Rachel’s designs are a gorgeous mix of contemporary fashion and quirky prints. Designed to be wearable as well as ethical, all clothing is made of soft and natural fabrics. Her aim is to bring back high quality, artisanal design within Scotland’s clothing industry, whilst promoting ethical solutions to ‘fast fashion’ affects on the environment. Within her own business Rachel expects complete supply chain transparency from suppliers, and as a result the connection she maintains with a select few is close and dependable.
Although small, Aimee Kent is an innovative and eco conscious brand that produces bold and quirky prints for both clothing and textile products. Each pattern is inspired by Aimee’s surroundings or travels, and the unique designs have been featured in many high fashion publications such as Vogue, ELLE and Marie Claire. All materials used are carefully sourced from either recycled, organic or fair-trade suppliers, and the brand also employs an unusual screen-printing system that purifies any wastewater to eliminate damage to the local ecosystems.
For more information and advice on sustainable wardrobes, or helping support those who create them, visit Fashion Revolution Scotland.