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.
Plastic pollution is one of our generation's greatest issues, and Szade is hoping to address that one pair of shades at a time. The Melbourne-based brand specializes in recycling plastic from landfills to create cool sunglasses.
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.
Have you ever wondered what happens to all those marked-down pieces that never get sold? In an effort to combat overproduction, the shoe brand, Alohas operates on a made-to-order model to ensure each pair of shoes created is made intentionally.
For the eco-conscious jewelry lover, it doesn't get much better than unwrapping an Agmes piece. The New York City-based brand uses all recycled metals, making them the perfect gift.
Shifting to shopping more sustainably can be doing something as small as supporting indie labels with a slow-batch model—i.e., SVNR. With silk pieces hand-dyed in Brooklyn, it doesn't get more special (or sustainable) than this brand.
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!
Each pair of Brother Vellies shoes champions African craftsmanship and is made with fair labor practices and sustainably sourced materials.
Velvet Canyon's sunglasses are made from renewable materials (i.e., acetate) to ensure they're as eco-friendly as they are stylish.
Apparis is one of the world's leading sustainable and cruelty-free outerwear labels. Specializing in faux-fur coats made from innovative fabrics (i.e., recycled plastic bottles and corn hemp), they're the ideal gift for anyone who needs a new coat this year.
Waste from surplus fabric plagues the fashion industry, which is why Reco was founded in 2020. The Paris-based brand aims to use scrap leather pieces to redefine how we view luxury handbags.
Made from 90% recycled cashmere, this sweater is a more sustainably made take on this wintertime staple.
Mara Hoffman is another brand that's championed sustainability by using recycled fabrics throughout its collections.
Using organic cotton and recycled polyester, Veja aims to make sustainable sneakers that can last the test of time.
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.
Cuyana has become one of the go-to places to shop for ethically made pieces that lend themselves to becoming a part of a capsule wardrobe. Case in point: this leather tote that's been produced adhering. to LWG's certifications.
Everlane's recycled cashmere offering makes for the perfect last-minute holiday gift for anyone on your list.
You may know Sézane for their French-inspired knitwear, but did you know that they were B Corp certified? The brand adheres to some of the most ethical production practices and uses recycled and eco-friendly materials for its pieces.
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.
Searching for a brand that offers sustainably-made Cashmere? Look no further than Naadam. The brand works directly with herders to ensure each piece is recyclable, ethically-made, and affordable.
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.
Fun fact: every pair of Løci sneakers pulls at least 20 plastic water bottles from the sea to be produced. Making these kicks the idea sustainable gift idea for anyone on your list.
Founded in Melbourne, Del-Moment is a carbon-neutral brand that offers transparency around every part of its production process—from the fabric it sources to its factories. The result is a brand that gives buyers a secure sense of mind.
Another sustainable denim brand you should have on your radar? Ética. Based out of Los Angeles, this denim brand champions fair labor practices and less water usage through its production process.
One ethical jewelry brand you can't go wrong with gifting Soko jewelry. The brand is a certified B-Corp that champions artisan communities in Kenya and uses recycled materials to create intentional pieces all around.
Behno's bags have become the go-to among the fashion set for their dedication to using one of the most environmentally-friendly leather tanneries in the world.
Textile production is one of the largest contributors to global warming—Lotti aims to change that. The female-founded sustainable ready-to-wear label uses biodegradable deadstock fabrics to create small-bath collections.
Jasmine Fox-Suliaman is a fashion editor living in New York City. What began as a hobby (blogging on Tumblr) transformed into a career dedicated to storytelling through various forms of digital media. She started her career at the print publication 303 Magazine, where she wrote stories, helped produce photo shoots, and planned Denver Fashion Week. After moving to Los Angeles, she worked as MyDomaine's social media editor until she was promoted to work across all of Clique's publications (MyDomaine, Byrdie, and Who What Wear) as the community manager. Over the past few years, Jasmine has worked on Who What Wear's editorial team, using her extensive background to champion rising BIPOC designers, weigh in on viral trends, and profile stars such as Janet Mock and Victoria Monét. She is especially interested in exploring how art, fashion, and pop culture intersect online and IRL.
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