Image Source: Above the Law

Ethical Holiday Gift Guide

As the holiday season begins to reach a climax, it brings great joy to all the people who are out there finding last minute gifts for those special people in their lives. With this in mind, there comes a responsibility to share the importance behind being both meaningful and sustainable in the purchases we make during such holiday chaos.

Here is a round-up of a few of our favorite gift ideas that adhere to ethical fashion practices. But these ideas won’t just make your loved ones happy about thinking of them, it will make you cheerful in knowing that you are contributing to fair wages, working conditions and treatment of those who crafted the product, all dong so with little impact on the environment. Think of it as a gift within a gift!

For your Bestie: Recycled Cement Bag by Malia Designs

This is a fashion accessory that you and you BFF will appreciate most. It is a triangular shoulder bag made from recycled cement bags by fair trade artisan groups in Cambodia. It retails for about $38 and a portion of the proceeds are donated to Stop Traffick, which is a nonprofit organization bringing awareness to the fight against human trafficking. The bag is incredibly durable, includes a zip pocket, and a second pocket fit for a cell phone.

For the Boyfriend: Organic Socks by Pact

@abovemountaintops and @dpas57 hanging at Hopsnes Lighthouse in Iceland! #wearpact

A photo posted by PACT Apparel (@wearpact) on

At first you might second guess yourself and think that gifting socks to your boyfriend can be very unimaginative, but I assure you that socks by Pact will stand out in his sock drawer. Made from organic cotton, these ultra soft and comfortable socks come in traditional prints for the work week, and contemporary prints for his adventurous weekends. Pact supports organic cotton farming and incorporates conscientious manufacturing processes that support sustainability in fashion. A single pair goes for $12.99 or you can get a three pack for $24.99. Chances are he’ll be back for more after slipping these on.

For your Boss Lady: Handmade Scarves by Serrv

Serrv is a nonprofit fair trade organization that works with international artisan groups from 25 countries around the world. They create a variety of products but their most admirable product is their scarves. Most scarves fall in-between the $15-$58 price range, so there is something for every holiday budget. Many prints are hand painted in Nepal, with prints ranging from classic paisley to modern stripes. This is a website you might end up buying a gift or two for yourself after seeing the wide array of patterns Serrv has to offer!

For your Sister: Pop Perfume by Stella McCartney

Outspoken. Strong. Bold. #POPNOW brings out the spirit of adventure in us all. Discover the fragrance at

A photo posted by Stella McCartney (@stellamccartney) on

Stella McCartney has launched a fragrance called Pop. The label is known for making ethical fashion decisions and used an environmentally friendly technology called bio-mimicry that minimizes the carbon footprint of making a fragrance.  Pop has a very youthful scent, filled with tuberose and hints of sandalwood, but is a gift fitting for anybody with a spirited sense. Depending on the perfume size you desire to gift, prices range from $50 for the smallest and to $92 for the largest.

For your Parents: A Sari Throw by Fair Trade Decor

Fair Trade Decor is a 100% fair trade boutique that is based in San Diego with a physical shop and online store. They specialize in eco-friendly decor items and source from around the world, directly supporting artisan communities in developing nations. Each throw is a one-of-a-kind handmade piece made from recycled saris in India. These gorgeous throws come in the dimension of 42” x 72” at a variety of prices. The winter holidays are especially the perfect season to give the gift of warmth!

One last bit of advice when it comes to packaging these gifts: try choosing an alternative to wrapping paper. It shouldn’t be a surprise that wrapping paper is highly wasteful and thus not very friendly on the environment. In the U.S. alone, 4 million trees are used to make holiday gift wrapping paper, and sadly it usually goes straight into the trash after a gift is unwrapped. Be innovative and get creative with your gift wrapping skills and materials— use a variety of things from around your house, such as recycled paper or old magazines and newspapers. Whatever you chose to buy and wrap this season, may your holidays be forever merry and sustainable, as much as they can!

Text by Leilani Angel, BFA Fashion Merchandising. This piece originally appeared on