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Scottish Designers Launch Zero Waste Couture Collections

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Former Miss Scotland Miss United Kingdom (2010) Nicola Mimnagh, will be modelling specially-created  Zero Waste fashion collections in Glasgow today (15 March),  in the window of the Salvation Army Trading Company’s flagship store in Dumbarton Road.

Two Scottish designers have transformed unwanted clothing donated to the charity into striking high-fashion collections challenging perceptions of textile waste.

The new ranges including a combination of clothing and accessories are the finished product of a 12-week residency by print specialists; Aimee Kent and Black Cherry Studio with Zero Waste Scotland to create two dynamic new collections using pre-loved garments.

The project was designed to remind people clothing always has value and should never be thrown away.

The fabulous collections created by Aimee Kent and Black Cherry Studio from unwanted clothing donated to the charity, are now estimated by the designers to be worth at least an £4,000 each.

Lynn Wilson, textiles manager, Zero Waste Scotland said: “We are really impressed by the final collections. Both designers have completely transformed old, unwanted garments into gorgeous new garments which are completely unrecognisable.

“All textiles have a value and can be used again and again. Clothing should never be put in the general waste bin and I believe our talented designers have spectacularly proved with this chic collection, inspired by the Salvation Army, that there’s an inherent value in clothing – and if you’re finished with it, someone else can use it!”

An expert fashion panel will now appraise the collections and deliver their professional valuations on how much the newly created pieces are worth. The collections will then be sold with proceeds shared between the designers and the Salvation Army Trading Company.

Both designers specialise in printed textiles and have brought this element to the project. Aimee Kent has worked with sustainable fashion brands and designers such as Johari, Henrietta Ludgate and Niki Taylor of Olanic and The Top Project. Black Cherry Studio has supplied Kookai, Jaques Vert and Primark.

Designer Aimee Kent said: “I found inspiration for my collection in the architectural facades of the Salvation Army Trading Company’s headquarters in New York, as well as retro Salvation Army logos and graphic artwork.

“Using inspiration from the art-deco features, I created hand drawn artwork which was then transformed into repeat patterns and placement prints. All of the garments, panelling and embroidered details are inspired by the symmetrical geometric art deco structures.”

Jemma Wood, from Black Cherry Studio said: “As we are a studio who specialise in print design we wanted this to be our main focus within the collection.

“Ours is a mix of simply adding prints to an existing garment to completely deconstructing an item and making it into a useable accessory to give it a whole new lease of life.  We wanted to demonstrate how simple and easy it can be to transform an already existing item into something new and wearable again.”

In the UK alone, garments have an estimated life span of two years, three months. The average Scottish household owns around £4,000 worth of clothes, but wear only 70 percent of that each year, most commonly because it no longer fits.

Recent research from the Love Your Clothes campaign found that women in Scotland were already good at looking after their clothing to make it last longer with 65 per cent stating they will attempt to mend or fix an item so that they can wear it again however this same trend does not apply to donations with only 19 per cent fixing items before donating to charity.

The Salvation Army Trading Company is one of the largest clothing recyclers in the UK with 52 charity shops in Scotland as well as thousands of recycling banks. Each year they receive around 30,000 tonnes of donated textiles in the UK, which helps raise vital funds for the charity’s work with vulnerable people.

Catherine Hamou from the Salvation Army Trading Company said: “The final collections are stunning; they really surpassed all expectations. I’m particularly impressed at how the two designers used inspiration from The Salvation Army in the design stages.
“It’s been a privilege to be involved in this project. It has shown us all that the value and life within textiles can actually go further than we, as consumers, tend to allow. The simple acts of donating your unwanted items to charity and buying from our charity shops, means you’re helping us raise millions of pounds each year for extremely vulnerable people in the UK. Not only that, donating your old items helps prevent them going to landfill, and repurposing second-hand clothes – rather than continually buying new ones – begins to change the cycle of disposable fashion. The social and monetary value goes on and on.

“Little did some of our generous donors know that their unwanted pieces of clothing would end up being a part of something so special!”

The charity is well known across the country, helping to fund programmes with homelessness and addiction services, care for older people, help at emergency incidents, support for adult victims of human trafficking in England and Wales, a Family Tracing Service and more.

Environment

4 Common Items That Can be Reused Again and Again

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reuse reduce recycle plastic bottles etc
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Vanatchanan | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/vanatchanan%20buahom

As a society we are getting much better at taking our obligations to the world and environment around us more seriously. This is undoubtedly a good thing! The effects of climate change are beginning to manifest across the world, and this is turning the issue from an abstract threat into a very real danger. Trying to introduce some greener, more eco-friendly practices into your life isn’t just a great way of doing something beneficial for society and the world around you. It is a wonderful way of engaging positively with the world and carries with it numerous psychological benefits.

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Being a greener, more ecologically friendly person doesn’t require any dramatic life changes. Breaking or making a few small habits is all it takes to make your life a greener one. In this article we look at one of the easiest, yet most effective green practices to get into: reusing everyday items.

Jars and Containers

Glass and metal are widely recycled, and recycling is a good thing! However, consider whether any containers you buy, whether it’s a tub of ice cream or a jar of coffee, can be washed out and reused for something else. Mason jars, for example, can be used to store homemade pasta sauce and can be washed for future use. Once you start thinking about it, you will find endless opportunities to reuse your old containers.

Soda Bottles

An ice-cold soda is a wonderful treat on a hot day, but buying soda can get expensive, and the manufacturing and distribution of the drinks themselves isn’t great for the environment. However, by holding on to your old soda bottles and repurposing them as water bottles, you can save money on drinks, or use them to measure out water for your garden.

Plastic Bags

Most of the time groceries come in paper bags, which are better for the environment than the plastic alternatives, but they are less durable and thus harder to reuse. Whenever the store places your items in a plastic bag, hang onto it so you can reuse the bags again. If you want to take it one step further, consider looking into buying some personalized recycled bags. These bags are designed to last for a long time and are made of recycled materials. They look striking and unique, they’ll turn heads, and maybe even attitudes!

Seeds

If you’re a keen gardener, then you will already probably know how to reseed your plants in order to ensure a fresh crop after each plant’s lifecycle. If you have space in your garden, or haven’t yet tried your hand at gardening, then consider planting a small vegetable plot. Growing your own veggies means that you’ll be helping to cut back on the emissions generated by their transport and production. The best part about growing your own food in this way is that, by harvesting properly and saving the seeds, you can be set up with fresh vegetables for life!

Reusing and recycling common household items is an easy way to make your world a little bit greener. Once you start looking for these opportunities you’ll realize that they’re everywhere!

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Environment

These 5 Green Office Mistakes Are Costing You Money

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eco-friendly green offices
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Stokkete | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/cyano

The sudden interest in green business is very encouraging. According to recent reports, 42% of all companies have rated sustainability as an important element of their business. Unfortunately, the focus on sustainability will only last if companies can find ways to use it to boost their ROI.

Many businesses get so caught up in being socially conscious that they hope the financial aspect of it takes care of itself. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to go green and boost your net income at the same time.

Here are some important mistakes that you will want to avoid.

Only implementing sustainability on micro-scale

The biggest reason that brands are going green is to improve their optics with their customers. Too many businesses are making very minor changes, such as processing paperwork online and calling themselves green.

Customers have become wary of these types of companies. If you want to earn their business, you are going to need to go all the way. Bring in a green business consultant and make every feasible change to demonstrate that you are a green organization from top to bottom.

Not prioritizing investments by long-term ROI

It isn’t realistic to build an entirely green organization overnight. You will need to allocate your capital wisely.

Before investing in any green assets or services, you should always conduct a long-term cost benefit analysis. The initial investment for some green services may be over $20,000. If they don’t shave your cost by at least $3,000 a year, they probably aren’t worth the investment.

Determine which green investments will have the best pay off over the next 10 years. Make these investments before anything else. Then compare your options within each of those categories.

Implementing green changes without a plan

Effective, long-term planning is the key to business success. This principle needs to be applied to green organizations as well.

Before implementing a green strategy, you must answer the following questions:

  • How will I communicate my green business philosophy to my customers?
  • How will running a green business affect my revenue stream?
  • How will adopting green business strategies change my monthly expenses? Will they increase or decrease them?
  • How will my company finance green upgrades and other investments?

The biggest mistake that too many green businesses make is being overly optimistic with these forecasts. Take the time to collect objective data and make your decisions accordingly. This will help you run a much more profitable green business.

Not considering the benefits of green printing

Too many companies believe that going paperless is the only way to run a green organization. Unfortunately, going 100% paperless it’s not feasible for most companies.

Rather than aim for an unrealistic goal, consider the option of using a more environmentally friendly printer. It won’t be perfect, but it will be better than the alternative.

According to experts from Doranix, environmental printers have several benefits:

  • They can process paper that has been completely recycled.
  • They consume less energy than traditional printers.
  • They use ink that is more environmentally friendly.

You want to take a look at different green printers and compare them. You’ll find that some will meet your needs as a green business.

Poorly communicating your green business strategy to customers

Brand positioning doesn’t happen on its own. If you want to run a successful green business, you must communicate your message to customers as clearly as possible. You must also avoid the appearance that you are patronizing them.

The best approach is to be clear when you were first making the change. I’ll make an announcement about your company‘s commitment to sustainability.

You also want to reinforce this message overtime by using green labels on all of your products. You don’t have to be blatant with your messaging at this stage. Simply provide a small, daily reminder on your products and invoices.

Finally, it is a good idea to participate in green business seminars and other events. If your community has a local Green Chamber of Commerce, you should consider joining as well.

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