Climate stripes get eco tartan makeover
24 October 2022
Limited edition tartan T-shirts inspired by the University of Reading’s climate stripes graphic are being made available to support climate change research.
The tartan interpretation of the stripes by eco-friendly textile weaver and clothing company Prickly Thistle Scotland is a brand new take on the traditional stripes design by Professor Ed Hawkins in 2018.
A limited run of 173 T-shirts – matching the number of stripes featured in the latest version of the graphic, with each stripe representing one year – are being made from the tartan, each with a limited edition, numbered label. These will be made available to purchase, with all proceeds being donated to support climate science and education at the University.
Further textile creations such as climate stripes belts, blankets or certificate-sized tartan cloth pieces for framing, will also be produced and sold by Prickly Thistle, with proceeds going to environmental charity Client Earth.
The collection launched on Sunday, October 23. COP27, the global climate conference taking place in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, starting on Sunday, November 6, will end 27 days after the launch.
Professor Hawkins, a climate scientist at the University of Reading, said: “The climate stripes were created to start conversations about the climate and inspire action around sustainability, and this innovative project is another way to do just that.
“The outlook of Prickly Thistle and its ambition to bring about positive change marries perfectly with my aims in creating the stripes. I am excited to see what this project can achieve.”
Clare Campbell, designer and founder of Prickly Thistle Scotland, said: “When I first discovered the climate stripes image earlier this year, I was immediately awakened to two things: one was the overriding message, we are getting very hot very quickly and in my lifetime it was the hottest, therefore I need to take action somehow. The second was how this image was exactly a textile warp, the first stripes of cloth construction.
“The blue stripes of 100 years ago represent a time before nylon and other polymers, when natural fibres were used to make clothing. We want to make this past our future for the benefit of the environment, and that’s exactly what we are doing at Prickly Thistle. What we wear says everything about us. It’s time to wear our values once again, wear them with absolute pride.”
Unlike some clothing that is made from oil-derived synthetic fabric, such as polyester and nylon, natural animal fibres such as wool can be a more durable and environmentally-friendly material. For this project, Prickly Thistle has created the tartan stripes fabric using locally sourced, spun and dyed wool from a family-owned business, Jamiesons of Shetland, based on the Shetland Isles. The wool is then woven by Prickly Thistle into the stripes tartan design at its mill in the Scottish Highlands. The climate stripes are now widely recognised as a universal and simple illustration of how temperatures have risen around the world over more than a century, and as an emblem for climate action.
Stripes for more than 200 countries, oceans and US states are available to download for free from showyourstripes.info.
The stripes have been shared on social media by the likes of the United Nations, on the cover of a new book by Greta Thunberg, on the main stages at Glastonbury and Reading Festival and in another fashion partnership at last year’s London Fashion Week.