Guide to the dear green place Glasgow

Did you know that Glasgow rates highly for green spaces per capita with 90s parks and gardens? The clue is in the city’s nickname “Dear Green Place”, which is derived from the Gaelic word for Glasgow. Other glorious green places are uncovered as you chat to people that live there, such as MILK Cafe, pictured below. MILK is a social enterprise set up to empower and support refugee and migrant women living in Glasgow. As well as a place for folks after an exciting breakfast menu, the space is used to run workshops which are open to all women in the community. I had just over a day to discover the city, so after starting at the oldest park, Glasgow Green, these are my go-to shops to help you scratch the surface of Glasgow’s green scene.

Mr Ben Retro Clothing

Kings Court, 101 King St, Glasgow G1 2RB 

Your first impression might not suggest you’ve arrived at the place for true gems like this ’80s Valentino dress I unearthed. Of course every visit is unique with vintage and the stock is always different, but once you step inside I think you would find it hard not to spot something in Mr Ben that interests you. I met the owner, Mary Ann King’s sister, who helps in the shop sometimes. She told me stories about the ’60s when London’s Carnaby Street was Carnaby Street and the time Mary Ann King borrowed her cardigan, only to see it again in a Vogue shoot. Mr Ben Retro Clothing is evidence that its founder has been collecting since she was 10, with pieces of historical significance from her personal archive dotted around the display. Stock for sale includes iconic Burberry trenches and great buys in menswear, womenswear and accessories.

West Vintage 

10 King Street, Glasgow, G1 5QP and other locations in Glasgow 

Pared back and spacious, West Vintage is a good place to workout your retro sportswear needs. Expect mixed levels aka prices, and brands like Adidas, Nike, Levis and Tommy Hilfiger. Find functional workwear that transcends time, or colour combos that could only have been conceived in the ’90s.

The City Retro Fashion 

41 King St, Glasgow G1 5RA 

This is a small shop with a substantial offering. The City Retro Fashion is a friendly, easy place to shop real vintage with particularly boss womenswear and menswear pieces from the ’50s and ’60s, although the collection spans a good five decades. While in here, be sure to check out pieces from local young sustainable brands like House of Black, also stocked in the store.

Rags to Riches  

455 Victoria Rd, Glasgow G42 8RW

Established with the aim of increasing awareness of reuse and upcycling, whilst also providing training and employment opportunities, Rags to Riches is a social enterprise project run by the Govanhill Baths Community Trust. We need to move to a circular economy to build resilient communities, and the range of workshops and locally made fashion stocked here sing to this movement. The shop is full of upcycled items that really do up the value of the materials they were born from.

The Glasgow Vintage Company

453 Great Western Rd, Glasgow G12 8HH 

Expect a marvellous selection of womenswear, menswear and a little childrenswear accessorised by greenery with good pot plants. The Glasgow Vintage Company is a mash-up of pieces dating back to the ’50s that feel modern, so it’s a welcoming place to ease yourself into vintage if you don’t normally do vintage. The shop is bright with lots of natural daylight and atmospheric lighting, which makes looking for treasure easy. Come here for clearly laid out classics like an authentic vintage Barbour, colourful cashmere, jeans or the retro Harris Tweed you hoped for as a souvenir from Scotland.

Glorious

496 Great Western Rd, Glasgow G12 9BG

This is a destination for reloved pieces with a mix of good pre-loved high street clothes and shoes cuddled up to retro homeware and accessories. Glorious has a low-key splendour to it that leaves you feeling warm inside.

© Photographs Reclaimed Woman

Conscious Commuter

Ensure you get space on the handrail during a crowded commute with this voluminous sleeved button-down by Amour Vert

[If you’re in the US or Canada it’s worth noting that it recently teamed up with the online thrift store thredUP, so you can close the loop on your clothing cycle and earn credit to spend at Amour Vert.]

RIKR Upcycled Laptop Case Groundtruth

Vintage Yves Saint Laurent belt 1stdibs

Airmiles scrunchie to hold your hair and calculate how far your food has travelled to reach your plate. Food for Thought from Gung Ho

Trainers upcycled by Peterson Stoop

Ready-to-wake: Should fashion weeks be cancelled?

Upcycled kitten heels by Ancuta Sarca at London Fashion Week

“Wake me up when September ends” are words I’ve heard from editors doing the four fashion capitals in less than four weeks.  

Our eyes are closed to the emergency according to Extinction Rebellion, the movement making non-violent resistance to demand action on climate change. The activists illustrated this with a ‘die-in’ outside the main venue for London Fashion Week, calling for it to be cancelled.  Yet inside, the British Fashion Council (BFC) staged showrooms fully dedicated to ‘Positive Fashion’ and sustainable design.  Of course, a small group of designers aren’t going to shift the wasteful speedy system, but it was a sea change on the press releases previously put out by the BFC, boasting stats like 32,000 miles driven between shows by a fleet of Mercedes-Benz, 20,000 cups of espresso consumed [almost entirely in single-use cups]…The carbon footprint of London Fashion Week was no doubt similar this season, but the tone changed.  

I saw sustainable designer Phoebe English join Extinction Rebellion and others on a panel discussion hosted by the BFC in London.  Gabriela Hearst claimed to host the first carbon neutral catwalk show in New York. Gucci declared its show in Milan and operations, including its global supply chain 100% carbon neutral. Stella McCartney hosted a round-table chat with activists on the eve before her show in Paris. 

These moves and commitments sound positive, but skeptics might say brands are just paying for carbon offsets or that Stella McCartney’s show—claimed to be her most sustainable to date, with over 75% of the ready-to-wear made from environmentally-friendly materials—still falls short, by containing some non-organic cotton.  Still, more problematic, is the sheer volume because speed matters, not just on the high street, but more than ever in the luxury market too. 

When you really take all this in, fashion can feel hopeless.  As former fashion editor, now Extinction Rebellion activist, Bel Jacobs acknowledged on the panel at London Fashion Week: 

“The fashion industry which markets, produces, consumes, disposes at an ever increasing rate. This is not an industry under threat and it’s set to rise by 63% in 10 years time… when you are part of Extinction Rebellion, grief is a large part.” 

The discussion heralded the benefit of slowing down and even stopping, with Phoebe English sharing how she halted production for three seasons to find more sustainable ways of creating and shifting the label away from virgin resources. 

Stockholm fashion week is usually prelude to fashion month, but this year the Swedish Fashion Council cancelled it to give them time to remodel, reach sustainability goals and set a new standard.  Maybe they’ll create something that the global fashion community will demand as much as Scandinavian influencers? 

Many industries are complicit in climate change, and fashion straddles many of them, including mining and agriculture. However, zeroing in on fashion first might be a clever move by campaigners, because collectively and creatively, I believe it has the ability to change and wake others to follow.

Cameron Saul, co-founder of the sustainable British brand, Bottletop also spoke on the BFC’s panel and showcased their #TOGETHERBAND campaign for change.

It is clear that fashion needs to change, not only for the planet, but also to save itself because somehow it feels off right now. What do you think fashion weeks could be if they should be?

©Photographs Reclaimed Woman