Last week we came together with reuse and repair organisations from across Scotland to put on a fashion show with outfits made from discarded materials and wow… It was incredible!

We put on the fashion show to call attention to the huge issue of waste and overconsumption in Scotland, and we held it right outside the doors of the Scottish Parliament so MSPs couldn’t miss it. 

They are due to debate and vote on a new law to create a circular economy any day now, so this was the perfect opportunity to show them that there is public support for measures to reduce our overconsumption.

There are lots of organisations working at a grassroots level to change the way we use materials – from repair cafes to tool libraries. But without more support and clear strategies from the government, the level of change required to reduce our impact on the planet just won’t be possible.

We want the Scottish Government to bring in targets to reduce consumption as part of the new circular economy law. This is a vital step in ensuring the necessary changes are made across our economy to bring our material use to a level that’s less destructive.

Outfits highlighted issues with our material use

In Scotland, we currently consume as if we had three planets available to produce the resources we use and absorb the waste we create. Everyone involved in the fashion show highlighted various problems with our culture of overconsumption with their creative outfits.

Refashion Scotland is a collective of sustainable designers. This amazing dress is made from synthetic rubber, a material which comes directly from fossil fuels – but it’s not just dresses like this that are made from fossil fuel fabrics, over 65% of our clothing is made from plastic.

Kim is wearing a face mask decorated with nurdles, brought to you by the INEOS pollution house. Nurdles are tiny plastic pellets used to make all the other plastic items we have showcased. Over 3 billion nurdles are produced every week at the INEOS plant in Grangemouth.

Rachel from Plastic Free Scotland Communities, who is wearing a Medusa headdress made from electric cables to highlight the problems of electronic waste. Consumer electronics should be built to last and designed to be repairable.

Melba has been sewing at a club run by ELREC for three years. She’s wearing a beautiful Filipino dress using fabric donated from SHRUB. Melba’s home country of the Philippines is drowning in trash from the West, including from Scotland. 

Public pressure for a circular economy

This fantastic day was just one step in pushing the Scottish Government to go further with its vital circular economy legislation.

There’s a few stages to go before the bill becomes a law, which will take place over the coming months. This means that we have more opportunities to push our representatives to go further.

Getting involved with your local reuse organisations

There is so much fantastic work happening in communities already. 

Some of the organisations involved in the fashion show are:

ELREC – runs the Communities’ Reduce Reuse & Recycle project which helps diverse communities to reduce their waste consumption while advocating for climate justice.

Plastic-Free Scotland Communities – a community network tackling single-use plastic from beaches & green spaces all the way back to the brands and businesses who create it.

SHRUB – a community-led cooperative in Edinburgh working for a world without waste

Edinburgh Street Stitchers – an amazing protest group which causes gentle disruption by repairing clothing in public places.

Re-Set Scenery – transforms scenery from the creative industries to bring new projects to life.

You can also find reuse and repair organisations near you here: https://www.circularcommunities.scot/map/