As millions of "Fashion Revolutionaries" gear up for another week of asking the question Who made my clothes? for Fashion Revolution week (24th - 30th April), we thought we'd ask the ethical fashion experts and influencers that we've come to know (and hugely admire) over the past year about what they're doing to actively change the way people think about fashion and the industry.
Our Fashion Revolutionaries series continues with Ruth MacGilp of ethical fashion blog Urbanity Blog and Scottish Fashion Blogger of the Year. When she's not writing her blog championing ethical fashion brands and emerging Scottish designers, Ruth is the Head of Fashion at the Scottish Design Exchange and is studying fashion communications, both in Edinburgh. Prepare to be inspired...
HI RUTH, TELL US ABOUT YOU / YOUR BACKGROUND?
I'm a Brummie living in Edinburgh and working within the Scottish fashion industry. I've always been obsessed with fashion from a business point of view and have grown to love the creative side of it too. I study a course called Fashion Communication at the Heriot Watt University's School of Textiles and Design, and I also work in fashion, textiles and digital marketing for a company called The Scottish Design Exchange. But above all, I am a blogger over at Urbanity, which is my ultimate passion!
WE LOVE URBANITY BLOG. TELL OTHERS ABOUT IT!
Aw, shucks you guys! I love Nu Blvck too! Urbanity Blog is my portfolio of journalism and collaborations over the past two years. I write twice weekly about local, independent and ethical fashion as well as my personal adventures around Edinburgh and beyond.
WHAT OR WHO INSPIRED YOU TO START URBANITY BLOG?
Urbanity actually started in 2015 as a joint venture with one of my best friends and flatmates Sarah Ewen as a way to express our shared love for fashion, but later we parted ways as Sarah got into an acting career and I went off to university and started working with, and falling in love with, Scottish fashion brands. From then I really found my niche in ethical fashion and a total girl boss lifestyle.
WHAT DO YOU THINK ARE THE CRUCIAL 'ETHICAL' ISSUES IN / AROUND THE FASHION INDUSTRY AT THE MOMENT?
For me the key issue is achieving basic human rights, fair wages and social equality for all workers throughout the fashion industry's complex supply chain. To achieve this we need to demand total transparency from fashion brands in how they operate, right from seed to store. Of course the environment is another huge factor in ethical fashion, as the industry is one of the most polluting and wasteful in the world. What we don't see here in the UK is where our unwanted clothes really go, to landfill sites and second hand distributors in third world countries, destroying the local craft and design industries, and destroying habitats.
WHY FOCUS ON ETHICAL FASHION IN YOUR BLOG?
Because there's a dark side to the fashion industry which people don't see through the glossy exterior. Fashion is frivolous, fun and often glamorous, but its production has serious and permanent consequences throughout the world. Bloggers have a huge opportunity right now to influence consumers, so why not use that platform to try and make a real difference.
WHAT'S NEXT FOR URBANITY BLOG?
I have been collaborating with some really cool local brands which is really fun and feels authentic. I'm working with Colour Elements on their project for Fashion Revolution, various charities to promote vintage fashion, working with designers in Glasgow and Dundee, and even some global PR companies too. It's very exciting for a small fry like me!
TELL US ABOUT THE BRANDS YOU LOVE?
At the moment I'm obsessed with Thought clothing. Their selection of womenswear is totally up my street. More locally, I love knitwear brand Yellow Bubble, start-up label Studio Five and designer label Birds of Prayers. Overall though, I love shopping at vintage stores, charity shops and independent boutiques across the city.
WHY FEATURE NU BLVCK?
Nu Blvck is totally switching up the traditional seasonal cycles, business model and supply chain of the fashion industry. Brilliant, luxurious accessories created by talented Scottish fashion designers and local artisans, whilst shaking off stereotypes of eco fashion by producing edgy fashion campaigns in collaboration with the country's most innovative creatives. Plus the people that run it are alright too!
Go to Urbanity Blog here to find out more.
Fashion Revolution is an organisation set up in response to the Rana Plaza garment factory collapse in Dhaka, Bangladesh, when 1,134 people (mostly women) were killed and over 2,500 were injured. Go to www.fashionrevolution.org to find out more and for local events go to the Fashion Revolution Scotland Facebook page here.
Read the first in our series The Fashion Revolutionaries, with Olivia Pinnock of The Fashion Debates, here.
To shop the Icon Revived collection (pictured above) click here.
Photography: Holly May Wesley