Patrick Harvie visits Glasgow's Wild & Kind Studio to emphasise there is more to plastic reduction than recycling plastic bottles and carrier bags.
Following a visit to the Wild & Kind Studio in Glasgow this week, Patrick Harvie, Glasgow MSP and Scottish Greens co-leader, discusses thinking outside the box when it comes to reducing our plastic consumption with The Glasgow Guardian.
Wild & Kind Studio is a Glasgow clothing business with a revolutionary vision, aiming to “provide an ethical direct to garment printing service using only 100% organic or recycled garments”. The printing company offers their eco-friendly services to clients who want to order sustainable clothes with their own environmentally-friendly designs, using plastic-free, water-based inks. Alongside their “direct to garment” service, Wild & Kind also offer a “Wild Press” risograph print service which uses the same concepts to print posters, cards, zines and booklets.
More awareness of the different ways in which we consume plastic is needed, Harvie told The Glasgow Guardian: “One thing that doesn’t cut through is the extent to which fabric, clothing and material is part of that. People don’t like to think that their own clothes contribute.”
Harvie’s visit to Wild & Kind follows the release of a new report that indicates that popular clothing brands are not in possession of a realistic plan to reduce their use of synthetic fibres. Changing Markets Foundation, who produced the report, states: “The insatiable fast-fashion business model is enabled by cheap synthetic fibres, which are produced from fossil fuels, mostly oil and gas. Polyester, the darling of the fast fashion industry, is found in over half of all textiles and production is projected to skyrocket in the future.”
When questioned about the dilemma many students may find themselves faced with, stuck between wanting to shop sustainably but running into problems on a low budget, Harvie was keen to point out that it is a mindset shift that is crucial: “It’s about using materials that last, not “produce, consume, dispose.”
Businesses, and not the individual, are the big players in the plastic game though, Harvie emphasised: “The biggest thing is to not feel overwhelmed and not to feel guilty. Pressure and regulations need to be put onto businesses. People want to do the right thing, but the responsibility is not on individual shoulders.”
In moving forward, the Scottish Greens believe that it is a “stick, as well as carrot” approach that is necessary to make significant change. This, Harvie discussed, should be in the form of tighter regulations placed on “Big Business”.
Accordingly, Changing Markets Foundation laid out a number of recommendations for fashion brands and retailers. These include moving “away from the fossil-fashion business model”, as well as committing to “ambitious and comprehensive climate targets” that would include “transitioning away from fossil fuel-based fabrics”, whilst not overexaggerating “green claims” and ensuring full transparency.
And, as Harvie told The Glasgow Guardian, getting the “maximum use” out of our clothing and materials is key; Changing Markets Foundation promoted the concept of “true circularity”, which would aim to ensure that clothing produced is more durable, lasts longer, with reuse promoted.
In terms of recommendations for students, the report made clear that as consumers, we should avoid compulsive shopping, instead purchasing only what is necessary. Shopping from second-hand stores and choosing items “for maximum durability” is vital. It advocated for using social media and online petitions as ways to continue to raise awareness of issues that continue to persist in the fashion industry, including environmental damage and exploitative practices.
Harvie promoted the importance of remembering to return to the basics: taking a reusable bag out shopping, looking for companies that sell items in refillable and reusable containers, and more shrewdly looking into the sources of the materials bought.
Workshops at Wild & Kind are being launched soon, too. “It’s great to see people putting fun into what they’re doing,” Harvie said, of the sustainable brand, “There’s creativity, fun, and something joyful.”
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