Give the planet a gift this Christmas by making it a time for conscious consumerism with presents that not only look good, they feel good too. There are so many eco-friendly, sustainable, cruelty free and ethical brands to choose from now that it’s easy to give gifts that give back. Here are some of the brands that are on top of my Christmas list this year. As I'm obsessed with shoes and bags and am dreaming of seeing some under my tree this year, they feature heavily in this story.
Image Of The Mini Duffel Crossbody In Stone Courtesy of Von Holzhausen on Instagram
I love Von Holzhausen bags because they look so effortlessly cool. The brand launched in 2015 and now use only 100% animal free Technik Leather, which is “designed to have the supple hand of traditional leather combined with the durability of an engineered performance fabric, making it a truly premium material.” All of the materials used meet the highest sustainability standards and the bags are designed by Malibu-based award winning designer Vicki von Holtzhausen. As an added bonus, Technik Leather is stain, scratch and water resistant.
Image Of The Handheld in Burgundy Courtesy of Von Holzhausen on Instagram
Image Of The Fiona Bag In Black Courtesy Of JW Pei On Instagram
Launched in 2016, JW Pei make beautiful, stylish vegan bags from Ultra-Microfiber leather, which very closely mimics the look and feel of real leather. For their 2018 collection, all lining materials are made from 100% recycled bottles and their products are made in GRS (Global Recycling Standards) and Oeko-Tex Standard certified factories. That means that all of their partners are audited and all materials used can be traced. I'm obsessed with several versions of their bucket bag.
Image of The Bucket Bag In Tan Courtesy of JW Pei On Instagram
Image of Stella McCartney Vegan Stan Smiths Courtesy Of StellaMcCartney.com
Stella McCartney is well known for her focus on sustainability and cruelty free fashion. The vegan Stan Smiths were launched in September as part of her ongoing collaboration with Adidas.
"Using non-leather materials is the cornerstone of our ethos, as part of our ongoing commitment to cruelty-free fashion," said Adidas in an Instagram post to launch the vegan version of their classic shoe.
Image of Veja Organic Cotton And Wild Rubber Sneakers Courtesy Veja Instagram
Veja use organic cotton, recycled plastic bottles (which create a breathable and waterproof fabric), recycled polyester and wild rubber for their vegan shoes. All of their vegan and leather sneakers are made with raw materials sourced from organic farming and ecological agriculture and are used without chemicals or polluting processes. The sneakers are manufactured in Rio Grande do Sul in southern Brazil, where workers have proper pay, conditions and living standards, unlike workers in Asia, where 95% of the worlds sneakers are manufactured.
Image: Everlane sustainable denim courtesy of Everlane on Instagram
This online clothing retailer receives a lot of hype for its ethical factories and transparency in pricing and manufacturing processes. And now they've set out to create the worlds most sustainable denim.
Unfortunately, denim manufacturing creates huge pollution for the rivers and oceans. A single pair of jeans uses up to 10,000 liters of water and in most factories, the majority of untreated waste water, which contains dyes and other chemicals, gets put back into the rivers and oceans.
Everlane jeans are manufactured in a LEED-certified factory that recycles 98% of its water, relies on alternative energy sources and repurposes byproducts.
Image: Allbirds sneakers made of wool and recycled bottle laces courtesy of Allbirds Instagram
They claim to be the most comfortable sneakers in the world. Made from merino wool or eucalyptus tree fiber, these fabrics are naturally-derived and renewable, with laces made of recycled bottles and caster bean oil in the soles. Allbirds is the brainchild of a new Zealander who says the wool is sourced from companies who meet the highest standards of animal welfare, farming and land management. Allbirds is a B Corp certified company, which means they meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose.
There are some wonderful vegan cosmetic companies and organic skin care ranges around. A couple of very helpful websites which sell clean beauty and natural skincare and are offering express and free shipping for last minute gift purchasing are www.iamnaturalstore.com.au and www.conciousskin.com.
Image of girls applying to Myna Mahila Foundation for sponsorship so they can receive menstrual pads courtesy Myna Mahila Foundation on Instagram
I recently donated to this charity for our friends' wedding present and it made both of the brides super happy! I was shocked to find out that access to menstrual pads can be difficult for girls and women in India, with more than 40% of Indian women and girls using unhygienic cloth rags instead of pads. The lack of pads means they miss school or work when they have their period and even drop out of school altogether once they start menstruating.
Myna Mahila Foundation provides pads and menstrual health hygiene education to 10,000 women each month and they employ women from Mumbai slums to manufacture and distribute affordable sanitary pads locally. They also give orphaned girls and girls from single-parent families who can't afford pads menstrual hygiene kits every 3 months.