Tartan weaving mill vows to help save the planet with wool designs

Clare Campbell, owner of Prickly Thistle in the Highlands, is taking her campaign to New York as part of Tartan Week

The owner of the only tartan weaving mill in the Highlands says she has designs on helping save the planet by encouraging more Scots to wear wool.

Clare Campbell’s taking her campaign to New York as part of Tartan Week – she says with plastics forming a big part of modern clothing, getting back to basics will help protect the environment and save money as the cost of living rises.

Four years ago she founded Prickly Thistle in Grantown, Easter Ross, where one hundred year old looms are used to weave Scotland’s most traditional of textiles.

Fifteen staff are employed to weave and make garments including kilts, coats, tops, trousers and hoodies.

Ms Campbell told STV News: “Sixty per cent of all fabrics in clothing are made of polyester – that’s oil, that’s the ‘highly flammable’ label.

“What’s really damaging about polyester is not just how it’s used to create the garments, but throughout the lifetime of that garment, 25% of carbon that comes from clothing is through the machine washing that we are doing.”

“We are washing these clothes every minute around the world – every second there’s a machine full of polyester, so there’s energy consumption there but there’s micro-plastics that come from all of these plastic clothes.”

Ms Campbell wants to encourage people to adopt natural fibres in their clothes, helping both the planet and their purse.

She said: “Wool is incredible, it will keep you warm and it will keep you cool.

“Energy costs are rising but wearing more wool in your home, you will be naturally regulated; you will be warmer.”

“Not only is it dealing with this energy consumption but we have got so used to wandering around in shorts and t-shirts inside when it’s very very cold outside and we just put our heating on.”

“By wearing clothing that naturally regulates your body temperature and doesn’t need the same washing, you are going to save on the energy.

“So there’s a financial saving but it’s the planet it saves, and this is the long game.”

Clare’s now taking her message to Manhattan, as part of New York Tartan Week. With many American clients on her books, she hopes to highlight the benefits of more eco-conscious clothing.

“I want to be able to go out there and say there is this Scottish mill who champions the untold story of this fabric.

“In 200 years we need to be talking about how this fabric reminded people of the past – because the past worked.”

With bold and bright colours Clare hopes her designs will help persuade people to think more about what they wear, putting Scotland at the centre of a textile revolution.

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