When it comes to the holiday season, one of the biggest gift-giving times of the year, sometimes it can be hard to communicate to your family and friends what an ethical present is. Not only has the term ‘ethical’ become a major buzz word, making it hard to define and explain, but maybe they’ve only just wrapped their head around the fact that you won’t be having any of the chicken roast at a celebration lunch (and no, you can’t just “have a little bit”). So, to say that you’re not willing to accept clothes from Pretty Little Thing or beauty products that have been tested on animals and include animal products is a whole other can of worms.

Before we dive into it all, let’s look at why buying ethically is important in the first place. According to The Australia Institute, nearly 30% of Australians anticipate they’ll receive a gift that they will never use. This equates to a whopping $980 million worth of presents going to waste. When we buy ethically, there’s usually a lot of thought that has gone into the purchase and hopefully the brand has created ways to minimise waste throughout the product’s lifetime. It’s also important to shop this way so that we’re doing good by the planet, people, and animals. Clothing, for example, is a popular gift during the holiday season, especially with Black Friday and Boxing Day sales. But with the fashion industry being responsible for 10% of global carbon emissions and its constant exploitation of animals and workers, it’s quick to become problematic and wasteful unless we slow down, educate ourselves and choose brands that aren’t causing harm or injustices.

It’s a lot, I know. You don’t want to be ungrateful for a gift that you receive but you also don’t want to compromise on your morals. So, how can we make this process a bit easier for ourselves and loved ones this holiday season? Here are some brands, directories and organisations that fit the animal, earth and people friendly bill to help you buy ethically this holiday season.

Flora and Fauna

The Flora and Fauna (F&F) platform is your go-to for all things ethical. From skincare to food to fashion and more, it has so many options to choose from. The best part is that being kind to the planet, people and animals is at the forefront of F&F’s ethos. You can be sure that whatever it is you’re buying, it is vegan, ethically sourced, cruelty-free and low impact. So if you know someone whose values align with that of F&F’s, there are over 360 ethical brands to browse through – there’s even a gifts section to help you out!

@flauraandfaunaau

Ethical Made Easy

Ethical Made Easy (EME) is exactly what it sounds like – an easier way to buy ethically. It’s important to be informed about products before we buy them, so that we can purchase in alignment with people’s values and therefore avoid unwanted gifts. EME’s brand directory allows you to read up on an ethical brand and the values it upholds so that you can make an informed decision. Once you’re happy with said decision, you can go ahead and purchase it right on EME’s site (I told you it’s easy). It doesn’t stop there though; if you find yourself intrigued and want to learn more then there is always EME’s journal, which includes interviews with brand founders, as well as a resources page for all things ethical to read, watch and listen to.

@ethicalmadeeasy

Good On You

If you have a certain gift or brand in mind but aren’t sure how ethical it is, you can always check on Good On You (GOY). GOY is a brand rating system based on three main factors: people, the planet and animals. The ratings range from ‘We Avoid’ to ‘Great’ and this can help when it comes to asking others which brands they’re comfortable with. Maybe your friend only buys from brands with a ‘Great’ rating whereas your sister is happy to accept something with a ‘Good’ rating. With GOY you will be able to simply navigate gifts for each individual and, as always, you can set boundaries for yourself on what you will and won’t accept.

“This holiday season, recognise the power in your choices. Whether it be buying less, shopping second-hand or choosing brands that are committed to protecting people and the planet – these decisions have an important role to play to creating a fair and sustainable future in fashion and beyond. Good On You started because we believe all of our actions have huge power. As shoppers, the choices we make every day can have a direct impact on the environment, but also send a signal to the industry about what’s really important. 

Some changes we make, like buying less and switching to more sustainable brands, might seem small but they add up over time. And collectively, when we all make choices based on the things we care about, businesses will have no choice but to respond, or risk losing market share. The opportunity for consumers to drive a sustainable future in fashion is very real, and very exciting.”

  • Sandra Capponi, co-founder

@goodonyou_app

Collective Fashion Justice

If you’re wanting to do some research about the negative impact your fashion choices could be having, then Collective Fashion Justice is the right place to be. Here you can learn what total ethics fashion means and looks like. There’s in-depth research on a range of harmful materials such as leather and wool, as well as alternatives to help you out. Whether you’re starting to become more mindful of the clothes you wear, or you’re trying to purchase for someone who adheres by total ethics, Collective Fashion Justice is the perfect starting point for more ethical shopping these holidays.

“Collective Fashion Justice’s work helps people to understand the interconnected harms that the fashion industry can cause to human and non-human animals, as well as the planet. It’s not until we understand what can go wrong in the fashion industry that we can learn to avoid it and choose total ethics fashion. We offer lots of free resources, and for those who want to directly find something totally ethical to wear, we currently have a limited edition, 100% non-profit knitwear collection!”

  • Emma Hakansson, founder

@collectivefashionjustice

Fluff Casual Cosmetics

Fluff is perfect for those who love a simple yet effective skincare and makeup routine, those who need a reset or those who are just starting out. From face oils to face masks and bronzers to lip oils, all of Fluff’s products are powerful and nourishing. You can trust that Fluff has been created with consideration not only for your skin but also for our planet, animals and minds as they challenge the beauty industry and its damaging standards. Not sure where to start? Check out their gift edit here.

“Fluff’s products are all about keeping it simple: good for your skin, your thoughts, and the planet. They believe that it’s ok to feel more with makeup, so long as you don’t feel less without it. Refillable makeup and skincare that is 100% Vegan and Cruelty-free.”

  • Ellen Jenkinson & Erika Geraerts, founders

@itsall.fluff

Citizen Wolf

Committed to a more ethical fashion system, Citizen Wolf’s tees, tanks and polos are everything that fast fashion isn’t. Ever ordered something online only to return it because it didn’t quite fit right? Or tried to buy a present for someone without knowing what size to get them? Most of the time this results in unwanted clothing ending up in landfill. Citizen Wolf conquers this by offering Magic Fit® which means all you have to do is fill in your height, weight, age, bra size if applicable, and your tee will be uniquely created to fit you (and only you!) Basic pieces such as solid-coloured t-shirts are key for our wardrobes when it comes to styling different outfit combos and re-wearing our clothes, so if you’re going to gift one, let it be from here.

P.S. Did I mention they’re Ethical Clothing Australia accredited and B Corp certified? Yep, they’ve got it all.

“Fashion is one of the most destructive industries on the planet with over-production and over-consumption running rampant. In comparison, our Magic Fit® Tees are made-to-order (custom fit your body), they’re carbon negative, and they’re ethically made right here in Sydney. We also offer free repairs for life so you can be sure that special someone will love their Tee for many many years to come.”

  • Rahul Mooray, co-founder

@citizen_wolf

Sans Beast

Sans Beast leaves the beast out of their handbags but certainly doesn’t leave out the style. The bags not only look fabulous but are extremely functional with pockets in all the right places and an array of shapes and sizes to choose from. Every stage of the process is met with precision and a conscious mind for the makers, planet and our animal friends. Ethical shopping has never looked so good!

“Sans Beast is here to cater to style seeking animal lovers who are mindful of their fashion choices on the environment. Ethically made, lovingly designed + always cruelty free.”

  • Cathryn Wills, founder

@sans.beast

TWOOBS

TWOOBS loves to be kind. Kind to animals, to mother earth, and to your feet. TWOOBS also loves to be funky and fashionable, meaning you can wear stylish and comfy shoes without compromising on your ethics. These are the type of shoes you can wear every day, while walking your dog or taking the rubbish out, as well as to brunches or New Year’s parties. They are versatile and you know they’ll be worn to death. Once that time does roll around, they definitely won’t be going to waste thanks to TWOOBS’ Takesies Backsies program (where they’re turned into playground mats!) To add to the (already impressive) list of why someone would love TWOOBS, each pair is PETA-approved and has its carbon emissions offset.

“Being animal-lovers ourselves, the idea for TWOOBS was born out of a desire to create vegan shoes that were also comfy and cute. We make sandals from better materials, like sugarcane and recycled plastics, so people can not only look and feel great in our shoes but also know that their purchases align with their values. We like to think of TWOOBS as more than just a footwear brand, we’re a community of people who care deeply about animals and the environment, so when our customers purchase from us they’re not just buying a product, they’re buying into our club and making a statement about what they care about through what they’re wearing.”

  • Jess and Stef Dadon, founders

@twoobs

Hara The Label

Hara is committed to making the most comfortable and soft bamboo intimates while upholding ethics throughout the process and, ultimately, re-shaping the way we think about fashion and its impact on the environment. Whether it’s a pair of flares or a sports bra, any Hara piece is a special gift that can be treasured and worn everywhere (even in the ocean!) With a range of vibrant and calming colours such as ‘Pumpkin’ and ‘Mauve’, Hara clothing makes for both a statement and staple piece (that won’t cost the earth).

@hara_thelabel

Author:
Charlotte Brownlee

Charlotte enjoys advocating for, learning and writing about ethics and sustainability, especially in the fashion and animal world. She’s currently studying a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Creative Writing and loves to write poetry. You can find her on Instagram at @charlottebrownlee_ and more of her work here.

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