Gifting is my favorite part of the holidays, and I love supporting small, ethical brands and stores that aim to not only elevate style, but look after people and the environment as well. As such, I’ve put together these four tips for finding quality, well-made products - as opposed to gimmicky gadgets that will inevitably end up becoming “just more stuff’ - that any fashionista on your list will love.
Ask Questions:When shopping for jewelry and other accessories, don’t be afraid to ask the salesperson where their materials come from, and how it’s made. For example, is the item made from reclaimed precious metals or salvaged woods? Are they dedicated to working with an ethical business that assures quality, fair and sustainable production all the way through? It saddens me that most mainstream jewelry companies do not use recycled metals in their products, which is a shame because metal is one of the simplest things to recycle and reuse! I take pride in the fact that my jewelry is ethically made with responsibly sourced stones, recycled metal and conflict-free diamonds. Here are some otherjewelry and accessory brands that put sustainability first.
Shop Local:What’s better than getting your loved ones a truly unique gift that simultaneously boosts your local economy? Check out local jewelry or clothing stores and designers in your community instead of rushing to the mall for something generic and mass-produced. Local jewelry makers and clothing designers often make one-of-a-kind and limited edition pieces, making it easy to find a truly customized gift.
Seek Brands That Pay Their Artisans Fairly:Unfortunately, many brands exploit their native jewelry makers, weavers, embroiderers, leather workers, etc., paying them very little for their work before going on to sell the fashion they create at absurd prices. While understanding the environmental impact of your jewelry or purse’s entire supply chain is nearly impossible, visualizing the positive social impact of a fairly-made item is much more inspiring and easy to do! In addition to Nina Nguyen Designs (check out our gorgeous and versatileHeritage Gold Necklette which is handcrafted by members of Nina Nguyen Designs’ Women's Co-op), many fair trade brands like Local + Lejos, Enrou, Ankura (Ayla Scarf featured below), and Zero + Maria Cornejo, have photos, personal stories or information on their websites of the women who hand-make the items and the factories they use.
Buy Something The Person Will Actually Use or Wear:Prevent waste at the source! Despite good intentions, many of us are often left with “junk” items we do not need or want which leaves them to sit on a shelf for a few months or years before they end up at the nearest landfill. To ensure you buy gifts for your loved ones that they will actually love, I strongly recommend prioritizing practicality: think about providing more sustainable, high-quality options for things they use in their everyday lives, and items that will last for many years to come.
With these tips in mind, I hope you are able to feel less overwhelmed with the idea of shopping sustainably and ethically. I encourage you to vow to make the world a better place through your purchases while showing your loved ones how special eco-friendly gifts can be!