It's about time for me to share an ethical Christmas list of a range of items. These may be pricey for some. But @declutterdollies recently mentioned that it is best to get one nice present and chip in with different friends than get plenty of small crap presents that will never be used, hence my more expensive list of sustainable presents.
I also suggest going for books, especially second hand in charity shops, which cost as little as £1. These can be read and passed on. I would be more adventurous on vintage and charity shopping but not many of my friends are into second-hand. Although @thesavagesisters (instagram and depop) sold cool vintage and had silver (925) pendants for just £15-20. So I went to them (online) for some presents this year. I also suggest events from spa to cooking classes to other fun activities (I have not mastered this kind of gift yet, a lot to learn). Last but not least I discovered some fun make it yourself food kits this year (mentioned below) and I think they're a true affordable gem that should not go to waste.
Fundraiser instead of physical presents.
For myself this year I asked people to donate money for a homeless charity of my choice Soup Kitchen Brixton, because I feel I have enough and can buy things for myself. And however much I hate Christmas and feel lonely during this time, I have a home and even options on how to spend it, while these people don't. I think anyone can be in this position because life is harsh. So I would like to raise money for them this year. If this issue speaks to you, please support my fundraiser here. https://www.facebook.com/donate/961568890891267/
The shopping part :)
Roop - bags made from end of roll fabric £65
The designer whose bags I have been totally obsessed with since finding a couple of months ago is Roop. Cutsie furoshiki bags made from deadstock fabric. They are very pretty and can be used as an evening bag, casual bag, or whatever else you like. I manage to fit in my large phone, wallet (both for cards and for cash), oyster, lipstick, keys, earphones. Natasha (the woman behind the brand) suggests not to overfill it because the bag is held on the knots. She is also developing new styles too, so keep an eye on her designs. The Furoshiki bags are now £65. It is a more expensive present, but if a few friends chip in to buy this gorgeous sustainable (unless you buy as many as I have) bag, then it will make a gorgeous present.
@itsrooper on Insta
Espressoh - vegan makeup selling basics £19-23
I haven't used this brand myself, as I have too many lipsticks and makeup already. But I have seen this brand at Lone Design Club popup and liked how simple their line was: brown/ red/ burgundy lipsticks, mascara and concealers. That's it. Not too much choice, not as much time wasted on trying to navigate yourself in an endless range of products. Their ethics is in their attempt to save women who can't be a*?# to continuously layer all the contouring products (guilty) and want statement make up fast.
Eco Glitter Fun - biodegradable skin glitter £4-27
Whilst on makeup and beauty products. I love glitter, I mainly use it for my nails, but this year I learnt that it's made of plastic (duh). Having gone to some zero waste markets, I have discovered Eco Glitter Fun. I haven't tried it yet, because I have decided to use up what I have first. But I am sure it would work on nails, and its primary use is for the skin. I like it because they have different size of glitter (essential for nail art). They sell glitter separately by colour and have cool sets too, some of which include a brush and wonder balm/ aloe vera application gel. Prices range from £4 to £160 (for large sets). The sets I like the most with a selection is £17-£27.
Neon Hope - real leather bumbag - £180
I am a sucker for bumbags. They enable your hands to be free and have all the necessities right there instead of having to get lost in your bag. I found Neon Hope perfect size: big enough for my phone, all the other essentials while looking chic and neat. Once again not too many colours, only the basics (which I find easier to choose from). They come with an adjustable bag, and if you feel adventurous, they also sell eyeglass 'wallets' that can be attached to the bag. Because of that, there is a small belt on the bag itself, which I personally found useful for carrying the bag as a clutch without the belt, as I can put my hand through it for more security.
If you are interested in the sunglasses case here, it is. I am not sure whether only their glasses can fit in there.
Food and drink making kits £10-£38
Food DIY sets. I saw a lady in Southbank Christmas market who has a tiny business hence why no website or contacts who sells fun kits. If you want to support her business, then you can find her in the stalls of Southbank Christmas Market (it's tiny, you won't miss her). She has fun sets from gin-making (£35) to cheese making (£22-28) to bacon and salmon curing (£20) to mushroom growing (£20) to flower bombs (£5). There are so many fun sets there that will not be wasted. Some of these can be found online. I haven't tried my vegan cheese set yet, but it has the spices and the thermometer. You have to add almond milk and nuts to it. The packaging is relatively environmentally friendly (there is minimum plastic). They have mixed reviews because some people are annoyed the main ingredients aren't included (bacon, salmon, or milk). I don't mind because at least I have fewer products to search for, but I can easily find nuts and milk. Here is the set I have if you have no time to go market.
Know The Origin - zero waste living sets £30-35
Zero Waste Sets. My favourite Know The Origin have awesome zero-waste sets to get your friends started on that zero waste living. If you're as cheeky as I am, you could break up the kits and give your friends a bit from each (this saves you some £££). The bathroom set includes a bamboo toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo bar, deodorant, bamboo cotton buds, face wipes. Kitchen set includes produce bags, beeswax wraps, coconut scourer x2, bamboo cutlery set (perfect for all Christmas markets and street food) and a straw with a cleaner. Otherwise, KTO have a huge choice of products from fashion to bed linens within different price range, so if you look on their website you will find so many gift options all sustainable.
Bathroom set https://knowtheorigin.com/products/plastic-free-bathroom-set £30
Gung Ho - scrunchies and scarves made from brand's end of roll material £18-40
One of my favourite designers this year is Gung Ho. Collections are printed and made in London by an awesome designer Sophie who is environmental not only in her collection but in her day to day life. I own her Protein jumpsuit (£260), which I bought on sale (still is). Her sizing is XS-S (size 4 to about 10) and then M-L (not sure haven't tried). But they allow you to gain weight/ lose weight and still look great in her garment and not feel guilty about that cake. Her main range may be pricey, but recently she has been making scrunchies (£18) and neck scarves (£40) made from leftover materials, of which there is not much.
Been London- recycled leather and vegan leather bags / wallets £55-£259
Another nice brand that I like is Been London. They have a wide range of bags. My favourites are the Broadway Market Tote (£129), Hoxton Clutch (£87) and London Fields Tote (£259 - you can fit all your life in it). Most shapes are square to ensure there is no (or almost no) waste when cutting. All bags are from recycled leather. They get the offcuts from trimmings of the leather production industry. They also produce vegan leather by utilising plastic bottles. The vegan range is £55 for Wilton Way Purse to £125 for Upper Street Waist Bag.
Arket - alpaca bib instead of a scarf £59-£69
Next one is not necessarily sustainable, but I think it is a handy item that will last a while. I suck at wearing scarves, I get tangled in them, they get stuck in the zips of my coats, and I ruin them. They also fly away on the tube. Now, the bib is easy to take off (the scarf should be too but not for me), it doesn't drag on the floor. I like to layer it instead of a jumper when it is not too cold, but there is a potential to be. I have had one since last year and I do not regret it. There are plenty of styles on Arket. I like the one with the zip and the basic one that I have. I suggest you get colours that work best for your wardrobe and especially will look good sticking out of your coat. So black, beige, cream and grey should be your go-to. Unless you really feel like having a pop of colour will spice up your life.
£69 with the half zip (apparently these are made from responsibly sourced wool)
P.S I would wait for the sale for these.