The textile industry is broken. From the mistreatment and lack of workers’ rights to overproduction to overconsumption to 92 million tons of textile waste produced annually, there are fundamental issues on every level. As a whole the situation looks completely bleak, but there are companies, such as the Edinburgh based Tartan Blanket Co. that exist with the intention of tackling these problems and changing the industry from within.
We love their signature recycled wool blankets because it really is the epitome of sustainability within the textile industry. These blankets are sourced from pre-loved garments and ethically woven by seamstresses. Since 2014, they’ve saved 1.6 million garments from the landfill (1 blanket is about 6 recycled garments)! The workspace for the recycled blankets is in India, where woolen garments are broken down and respun into spools of yarn which are then used to weave the blankets. Because wool fibers can be short and thus hard to respin, they supplement the recycled wool with some other longer fibers to create a yarn that’s durable, yet soft.
As a material, wool is natural, renewable, and durable. It regulates temperature, wicks moisture, and is resistant to odor. The problem with wool lies in how it's sourced: gross overproduction of and mistreatment of the animals (sheep, alpaca, goats). Because wool is such a high-quality fabric, there’s always a demand for it, which means there must always be a supply of animals to supply the materials, and looking at animals as “supply for materials” is the unfortunate byproduct. By recycling wool fabric from garments that would otherwise be in a landfill, TBCo. is able to produce more wool products without necessarily having to source new wool.
Like most of our brands, Tartan Blanket Co.’s mission is inextricably intertwined with their product. These blankets are a tangible expression of a solution to a greater issue. 92 million tons of textile waste are produced annually, but most of it comes from the western world and ends up being shipped off to sit in developing countries. Products, too, are often made as cheaply as possible in developing countries for the West, and the people who make these products are constantly exploited, severely underpaid, overworked, and often in inhumane working conditions. By partnering with a community of women in India to ensure fair wages, as well as removing textile waste, TBCo. is able to make changes on both a human and environmental level. They also donate 1% of their revenue (not profit) to the planet and an additional 1% to the people.
The Tartan Blanket Co. proves that change within these industries is possible and can result in amazing and innovative solutions. In doing so we can help the planet and empower communities to create a society that is ethical, sustainable, and beautiful.