Have you ever walked through a department store and suddenly felt anxious? Many things can cause someone to be stressed at this time of year—packing for a vacation, searching for the perfect gift, or even just dealing with crowds. But for the more sustainably-minded shopper, there may be an even more distressing idea: overconsumption.
It's estimated that over five million tons of returned gifts will end up in the trash this year alone, and that's before we've even addressed all that wrapping paper. If you find that statistic bothersome, you're not alone. According to Shopify's recent report, over 40% of people are willing to pay more for climate-conscious gifts this season. And while one can argue that there's no fully sustainable way to consume, there are more conscious ways to shop for gifts. You can ask your loved ones for wish lists, give gift cards, shop second-hand, or you can buy from sustainable brands.
In an effort to help with the latter, I've done some digging to identify 30 sustainable gift ideas from ethical fashion brands. While there's no denying that there's been a great deal of greenwashing in the industry, these brands offer complete transparency into their production process and the materials they choose, so you don't have to worry about the long-term impact of your gifts this year.
Being eco-conscious is woven into every aspect of the luxury handbag brand, Themoiré's ethos. The brand sources innovative materials (i.e., nopal cactus or recycled fabrics) to create timeless handbags that are meant to be an excellent longterm investment for the buyer and the planet.
Nanushka has become eponymous in the fashion industry for its buttery alt-leather pieces. Unlike other "sustainable" vegan leathers, though, the brand uses recycled fabrics to create leather, so you know it's actually better for the planet.
Did you know that the denim industry happens to be one of the biggest contributors to the fashion industry's carbon footprint? The brand, DL1961, aims to change that by using recycled fabrics and less water during the dying process to create denim you can feel good gifting or wearing for yourself.
Long before it was "trendy" to create sustainable products, Stella McCartney led the way. The brand has become known for its innovations within the eco-friendly space, like its plastic-free animal leather alternative used to make the bag above!
Velvet Canyon's sunglasses are made from renewable materials (i.e., acetate) to ensure they're as eco-friendly as they are stylish.
Another sustainable demi-fine jewelry brand that's the ideal place to shop this season? Wolf Circus. With a focus on using recycled metals, freshwater pearls, and lab-created gemstones, the brand has made sustainability attainable for all, one piece at a time.
Founded in 2019, this Amsterdam-based sustainable label was founded to disrupt the fast production cycle in the industry. They do this by offering manufacturing transparency, sourcing recycled fabrics, and offering minimal staples that can be worn year-round.
Have you ever wondered what happens to your bra after you've donated it? Chances are, it ends up in a landfill. It's a fact that compelled the founders of Harper Wilde not only to create their own recycling program but make a line of size-inclusive lingerie made from Oeko-Tex-certified materials to combat the issue.
While most may assume that vegan leathers are the more "sustainable" option, that's not always the case. Many vegan fabrics are made from plastic or are dipped in toxic chemicals. In order to combat that, Noiranca has created a line of handbags that are DMF-free, made from recycled materials, and use toxic-free finishes and dyes.
Deiji Studios creates loungewear from 100% bio-degradable fabrics, so you know their pieces will feel good on and be good for the planet.