Greetings from bonny Scotland. We chat to outdoors and travel writer Rona McMillan.
This week we have teamed up with Scottish based writer Rona McMillan to get to know her a little better. She had the pleasure of trying out a few of our pieces while we quizzed her on her views of ethical brands and their place in the future of fashion.
I see you live in Glasgow which is a large city - how does this work with your love of nature and passion for outdoor activities?
I do – and I love it! I grew up in rural Scotland and moved to Glasgow when I started uni at 17. I was absolutely petrified and panicked so much about being separated from the outdoor lifestyle I had at home. But Glasgow has heaps to offer for the adventurous type – lots of climbing gyms, indoor skiing, and a wake park in the city centre. But most importantly, Glasgow is in the perfect location for someone who likes both rural and city life. It takes me less than an hour to be surrounded by hills and lochs in The Trossachs, Glen Coe’s mountain range is less than two hours from me… and the list goes on. So the west coast (the best coast) and the highlands are very accessible from this fine city!
You look to have travelled far and wide - Is there a special place you love to visit time and again, if so why?
Hopefully it’s not too dull to choose somewhere in Scotland, but my favourite place to revisit is always Tiree. It’s a small island in the Inner Hebrides known as the ‘Hawaii of the North.’ Tiree is a paradise of white sandy beaches with incredible surf – I have made some amazing memories there over the years. I’m actually heading there very early tomorrow morning!
You look really cool in our Otso wears - They’re aimed at blokes traditionally but we're happy for anyone to wear them. Do you feel the divide between the genders is closing up these days or even really exists anymore?
Thank you! You know, I hadn’t even considered that you were aimed at guys when I first looked at the website. I just really liked the designs. I think there is certainly still a divide in gender stereotyping – especially for children’s clothing (the pink and blue thing). But there have been some interesting movements towards closing that gap recently which I am all for. Personally I choose clothes that I want to wear, if they are aimed at blokes I am not put off buying them. The only time I do find this a problem is when brands (particularly outdoor brands) have a tendency to make female clothing in typically ‘girly’ colours – pink, purple – and I always prefer the male colour choice; for jackets and things that need to fit to be functional I can’t always get away with the male sizes. But hey – that doesn’t apply to you guys!
What does the term ethical fashion mean to you and is it something you actively seek out when making clothing choices?
Absolutely yes – as I’ve gotten older I have grown to understand the importance of buying clothes that are made ethically and in good quality. I hate waste, and when buying clothes I am careful to buy less for more in the hope that it will last me for years. I want to know products I am buying are being made in a safe working environment and employees are being paid correctly.
Are there many ethical fashion brands that you know and like or are there still lots of room for more?
Room for more – yes! I am also really happy to see existing brands like ASOS, Levi and Zara all producing specific clothing labelled as recycled or ethically made. I can only hope more high street brands follow on. One of my favourites is Finisterre who design functional and sustainable outdoor products. I’ve also recently come across some great sustainable & ethical swimwear brands that I am itching to try – Davy Js, Salt Gypsy and Bower Swimwear.
To see how I got on answering some questions for Rona, head over to her website at www.saltbyrona.com