And here we are! Our final gift guide of 2019.
This gift guide specifically focuses on different aspects of fashion and beauty, including looking at a variety of materials, aesthetics and approaches to sustainability. There are multiple ways that brands work to be better in these spaces, so hopefully there’s a little something for everyone in here.
Enjoy and happy holidays folks!
Life Less Ordinary
Life Less Ordinary was inspired by travel, adventure and seizing the day. Their products are ethical, fairtrade, crafted from natural materials, and cruelty free. Plus, 10% of their net profits go directly to Life Less Ordinary’s chosen charities: Indigo Volunteers, who work in impoverished communities and refugee camps, and Reserva Youth Land Trust, who educate youth around the world on the importance of habitat and biodiversity
My top pick is the personalised What3Words bracelet. In a similar vein to coordinates, What3Words have divided the earth’s surface into 3m x 3m grid squares and allocated them an easy to remember three-word address. With this in mind you can pick a place that has special significance to you and receive a bracelet with these three words, in a kind of code that only you can understand. I chose Gylly Beach in Falmouth as my significant place, which is what these three words symbolise! It’s a really nice way to remember something significant while keeping it completely personal to you. The bracelet plaque is ethically crafted from tagua nut while the band is made from waxed cotton, and the bracelet is handmade in Brighton, UK.
Encircled’s clothing is wonderfully comfortable and stylish, while also being incredibly flexible. Their ethos is centred around creating more versatile, multipurpose options that transcend seasons. Each design perfectly suits capsule wardrobes and busy lifestyles alike, making getting ready easy, fuss-free and fun. From day to night, work to weekend, summer to winter, their timeless silhouettes, sustainable fabrics and high quality make them a great fit for minimal and modern living. Their pieces are also ethically made from natural materials in Toronto, and Encircled is a Certified B Corporation.
Their multi-way clothing also perfectly blends fashion and function. My top pick is the Wrap-Up Scarf, which is soft and warm (as a scarf should be!), but also long enough to be adaptable to any outfit. Wear it as a normal scarf, a wrap or as protection from the rain, this scarf will always be able to help!
All Asquith’s sustainable yoga/pilates clothes and loungewear is ethically and sustainably made in a GOTS certified family-run factory in southern Turkey. Their natural fabrics are Oeko-Tex certified, blending organic cotton and sustainably sourced bamboo to create durable pieces that outlast anything on the high street while also being anti-bacterial, breathable, sweat-wicking, and comfortable. Their pieces are soft, stylish, and easily transition from studio to the street.
That being said, my top pick this year is their leopard print pyjamas, perfect for a cosy night in when you don’t plan on going outside at all! They’re soft and stretchy, but luxurious enough to see the holidays out in style.
The Natural Edition
The Natural Edition was founded as an alternative to poor quality high street basics that never last. Their capsule collection of beautiful basics made from organic materials instead suit every season, and last through them. Ethically made from GOTS certified organic cotton, each piece is lovingly designed in great-fitting, versatile cuts that make them ideal for everyday wear.
I wear at least one Natural Edition piece a week; they work well as layers, dressed up, and for exercise too. Plus, they use no plastic packaging and plant trees with every purchase!
Founded in 2016 by Tytti Sofia Hongisto, Mahla Clothing is a conscious, slow and sustainable fashion brand based in Copenhagen. They also have an incredible eye for upcycling. While nearly 60% of all clothing ends up in incinerators or landfills within a year of production, Mahla works to turn this tide by creating many of its pieces from pre-consumer waste (material leftover from production such as deadstock fabrics) and post-consumer waste (materials that has been purchased, worn and then discarded by a consumer) sourced from across Northern Europe.
Mahla produces limited runs and bespoke garments based on demand, all of which are manufactured in their Danish studio or a small ethical sewing atelier in Tallinn. My personal favourite of theirs is this bumbag, made from velvet sourced from old theatre curtains!
Gung Ho London x Lovorika
Ethical fashion brand Gung Ho have teamed up with sustainable fragrance brand Lovorika to create BEE.
BEE is a 100% pesticide-free, unisex, vegan, natural fragrance. Utilising an innovative formula, BEE is a Dry Oil Parfum spray, an alternative to perfumer’s alcohol which uses toxic and unsustainable chemicals. The formula is also non-greasy, meaning it lasts longer while hydrating and moisturising your skin, and all fragrant botanicals are organic essential oils certified by The Soil Association.
The perfume is handmade in London in small batches, has a refillable option that costs 10% less when you want to top up, and comes with a custom Gung Ho drawstring bag made from upcycled offcuts from their pesticides collection.
AmaElla is an ethical underwear and sleepwear brand, created with a vision of sustainable and transparent core values. All of their items are ethically made by women in the UK and Portugal: their UK partner is a non-profit social enterprise who trains young women and develops their skills within fashion, while their Portuguese manufacturer trains and employs local women. Their materials are GOTS and OEKO-TEX certified organic, their printing is done with GOTS certified, water-based inks, and their lingerie is durable and long-lasting.
Recently AmaElla have also collaborated with disability campaigner Samanta Bullock to create lingerie that is disability-inclusive. Their bra is designed to be easily undone at the front for those who find it hard to fasten bras at the back, or have some help for getting dressed, while the knickers also tie at the side to make getting them on and off a little easier too.
Mungo Murphy’s Seaweed Co
Based in West Ireland, Mungo Murphy’s Seaweed Co is an integrated multitrophic aquaculture farm. Essentially this type of farming is regenerative: drawing down carbon, caring for the health of the ocean and working slowly and sustainably to balance local ecosystems. Founded by Sinead O’Brien, the farm focuses on several sea-dwelling organisms, but it is their hand-harvested and lovingly made seaweed products that are particularly wonderful.
MY TOP PICK: nourishing seaweed mask
Little by Little
Little by Little create food-inspired jewellery that is transparent, sustainable, minimal and delicate. Each piece is ethically made in Peru using a mix of locally-sourced recycled and sustainably sourced virgin metal. Jewellery comes in recycled packing that is made in the UK, and Little by Little also partner with Action Against Hunger. With each item sold they donate the funding to pay for three day’s supply of therapeutic food to nurse an acutely malnourished child back to health.
MY TOP PICK: I’ve been wearing their Mustard Collection since last year and I still absolutely love them.
Organic House London
Organic House Skincare create in small batches in the UK, with products that are vegan, cruelty-free, gentle on the skin and highly effective. Their ingredients are high quality, naturally derived and organic, and their formulas are created with great attention to detail. They never use harmful chemicals, fillers, harsh preservatives or synthetic fragrances, instead valuing honesty and naturally active ingredients that cleanse and nourish.
MY TOP PICK: the clean & bright skin polish. It nourishes and moisturises whilst also working wonders for deep pore cleansing and combatting pollution.
Jungmaven was born from a passion for hemp to combat climate breakdown. Hemp grows extremely quickly, helps maintain clean water and air, boosts soil health, produces oxygen and consumes large amounts of CO2. It also doesn’t require pesticides or fertilisers, is naturally anti-bacterial and moisture-wicking, and is incredibly strong.
And so enter Jungmaven, creating clothing from hemp that is ethically made in the USA. Each piece is soft, durable and beautiful, but also made from one of the best fibres around.
The Summer House
The Summer House produce everything ethically, sustainably and slowly in their own production studio. They use organic cotton, linen, and tencel alongside azo-free and natural dyes, or they leave fabric undyed altogether. They also partner with artisans and craftsmen across India to incorporate the traditional crafts of hand weaving, printing, and block printing into their designs.
ARTICLE 22’s jewellery is ethically and sustainably produced in Laos, the most heavily bombed country per capita in history. Artisans use metal from bomb shrapnel to create each piece, and every purchase funds the clearing of 3 square metres of land through financially supporting organisations who safely & expertly clear bombs. As well as providing sustainable economic development, fair income (at least 5x local minimum wage) and community investment, this also returns land that had been sitting unused for decades back to Laotians for redevelopment and agriculture. It’s material upcycling, safety and land restoration all in one gift.
MY TOP PICK: I am a wxman bangle
Swiss brand Baabuk believe in the power of wool as a natural, renewable and biodegradable material. They have teamed up with fellow Swiss brand Pomoca to create the Pomobuk, which uses manufacturing offcuts from freeride and ski mountaineering skins to create these colourful soles. The slippers are ethically handmade in Nepal, where workers are paid 25% more than the average salary, while the cuttings saved from landfill are randomly chosen from Pomoca’s seven shades, so you get a colourful surprise when you open the box.
Charlotte Dunn Design
Charlotte Dunn Design was created to combine two important passions: sleep and the environment. Charlotte Dunn Design’s capsule collection of luxury sleepwear seeks to encourage mindfulness and acts of self-care in daily life.
The collection is ethically made in small batche using GOTS-certified materials which are organic and produced using closed-loop processes. The result is a collection of sustainably made items for wearers to treasure for many years to come.
Kushel’s items are responsibly made in Portugal from organic cotton and sustainably certified tencel, and are OEKO-TEX 100, SMETA and B-Corp certified. They offset production emissions with a wind-park project Gold Standard GS 854, and offset water consumption by funding rain harvesting-, filtration- and ground-water projects, and for each item produced they plant two trees. With their partners Plant for the Planet, Trees for the Future and Klimapaten Pflanzaktion they aim to plant 1 Million Trees across Mexico, Africa and Germany.
MY TOP PICK: the bathrobe
Skin & Tonic
Skin & Tonic is a UK based beauty brand that uses gentle, organic, fresh ingredients certified by the Soil Association to care for the skin and support health. They used a maximum of 7 natural ingredients in their formulas, and all products are handmade in small batches in the UK. They’re also cruelty-free, use glass packaging, contribute to tree planting projects in Suffolk, and support small farmers and growers in the UK and France, fairtrade women’s co-operatives in Ghana & Sri Lanka.
MY TOP PICK: The classic gift set
Swedish Stockings create tights and socks that are ethically made in Italy from recycled and sustainable materials in zero-waste factories. They are produced using renewable energy and a closed-loop water system and low impact dyes in the dyeing process. Their materials are sourced from waste such as old fishing nets, carpet flooring and fabric scraps, and they use a 3D knitting process to create more durable materials that conform to the body and don’t bunch. Most of their pieces are also reinforced at the toes to prevent holes.
They also run a recycling programme; you can send old, laddered tights to them to be used as filler material in fibreglass tanks for oil and grease traps in the commercial industry. Swedish Stockings accept any brand of nylon hosiery to recycled, and when you mail 3 or more pairs of old ripped stockings to their recycling centres they’ll email you a 10% discount code for future purchases.
ilapothecary products aim to combat urban stressors, environmental and digital pollution, imbalance and fatigue. Their products are designed to help the busy modern person feel calm, balanced, uplifted and nurtured. They use British grown plants with a history of healing such as borage and thyme alongside medicinal flowers like rose geranium and other homoeopathic ingredients.
MY TOP PICK: I use the SOS Pearl Drops for anxiety
neo • thread
The ultimate in cool upcycling, neo • thread’s idea is that each piece is not old, not new. Secondhand pieces become the canvas to transform into something new and unique, filled with quirky humour and sass to match. Each piece is ethically produced and low waste, whilst also aiming to empower and inspire customers to express their individuality.
MY TOP PICK: plant mama tee
All Lemuel MC pieces are made to order by seamstresses in London. They use 100% linen deadstock that would’ve otherwise gone to landfill, are Oeko-Tex 100 certified, and offer free repairs for life.
One Happy Leaf
One Happy Leaf is an Australian jewellery brand filled with charm From abstract and minimal to fun and playful designs, they have something for everyone. Each piece is made with FSC certified sustainable bamboo, which are laser cut and hand-assembled in Perth.
Additionally, for every order, a tree is planted in areas requiring rehabilitation or ecological diversity. One Happy Leaf are hoping to plant 1 million trees by 2023!
Ally Bee Knitwear
Ally Bee is a contemporary luxury knitwear brand that is ‘Cradle-to-Cradle’ certified, which is a globally recognised measure of safer, more sustainable products made for the circular economy. Each collection is lovingly crafted from natural fibre yarns that are sustainably sourced in Britain. Their signature jumpers and accessories are made in small batches in the Scottish Borders, while limited-edition statement hand-knits are produced by an artisanal women’s knitting hub in India.
If you’re looking for something a little different and are UK based, why not go for a beauty experience gift and treat someone to an appointment at STILL London? STILL is a 100% cruelty-free and non-toxic salon. Where traditional nail polishes often use toxic chemicals such as Formaldehyde, Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP) and Toluene, all of STILL’s polishes have removed the twelve potentially harmful chemicals. Additionally, STILL’s other treatment products are all organic, ethically and sustainably sourced, their towels are made from organic cotton, and they work to use a minimal amount of packaging. Plus, their nail art is amazing.
SPONSORED POST DISCLAIMER: this post contains paid features from some brands. I already had relationships with the brands featured and believed in what they were doing. I would never recommend something I don’t love myself, all editorial decisions my own.