19 Nov RUTH MacGILP FASHION ACTIVIST
There are many of us who claim to want to make fashion more sustainable but few of us manage to bridge the gap between style and sustainability as seamlessly as Ruth MacGilp. Broke enough to be forgiven for shopping in fast-fashion shops, Ruth’s a woman who’s truly committed to a new way of shopping but in no way at the cost of her own fabulous style. We caught up with Ruth at the weekend and asked her what inspires her as she puts outfits together.
“I’m inspired by my favourite ethical fashion bloggers, like @honestlymili, @onewhodresses, @sophiebenson and @ecocult. I love Pinterest too and constantly look for fashion ideas there. I also look to my friends for outfit inspo – those that aren’t necessarily interested in fashion at all but have developed their own unique sense of style without following trends. Mainly though, I very much look for clothes that I know make me feel good- for me this is short dresses with long jackets, wide leg high-waisted trousers, retro jumpsuits, chunky knitwear and statement earrings. I don’t really care about trends or brands or celebrities; I just buy and wear things that my eye is naturally drawn to and make me look and feel confident and chic.”
Yes self-confidence is vital for developing a personal style and we love reading your posts on Instagram which have encouraged us to love who we are and not try to imitate anyone else. A lot of of us assume that we still need money to develop our personal style, but you seem to operate differently?
Skint or minted? Where do you find bargains and what do you invest in?
Definitely skint! I save for the occasional ‘investment piece’ from a local designer (I like to support Scottish brands and indie makers and although this costs a little more, it is so much more special than the high street!), I live for charity shops, vintage stores, online discounts, clothes swaps sample sales and pop-up shops.
We know that skint doesn’t mean staying in, just a priority of where you prioritise spending! Describe your favourite night out and what you wear?
My ideal night is a cocktail-fuelled catchup with old friends, followed by a few too many wines and cheeses, and a good old boogie at a club in Edinburgh’s Cowgate or a gig through in Glasgow. I love dressing up in something a little bit sparkly and sexy, although I never say no to an androgynous trouser suit or jumpsuit too with some chunky heeled boots and lots of lipstick.
You’re clearly committed to sustainable fashion, your work with Fashion Revolution as well as your blog and posts on twitter and facebook show that you walk your talk. Has sustainable clothing always been important to you?
I definitely wasn’t always so committed to sustainability; I was obsessed with fashion from a really young age and always wanted to work in the industry, but I was a fast fashion addict, and only after the Rana Plaza disaster in 2013 did I start to educate myself on the shocking problems. Changing my lifestyle has absolutely been a long process; it’s not easy to change a lifetime of bad habits, but indeed, since writing so much about sustainable fashion I had to walk my talk so I am very careful with my shopping and dressing these days. My views about the environment in other areas like recycling and plastics have always been strong, so why not fashion too – its a huge part of my life and everyone else who gets dressed every morning for that matter. I hope one day it can be taken just as seriously.
What advice would you give to those of us just dipping our toes into sustainable shopping practices?
More and more, instead of giving people advice about how to clear out their closets responsibly, educate themselves on the facts and science, shop from ethical and sustainable brands or get involved in campaigning and activism; I now think the best place to start is just to change your attitude towards buying new clothes at all. The first step – just stop buying! Do you really need or want new clothes, and if you do, do you really love what and who you are investing in?
To find out more go to Ruth’s blog https://ruthmacgilp.com/blog/