Tis the season to be jolly. Hopeful. Inspired. No, really—‘tis.
Yet, for those of us on the planet who are Christmas revelers we find that this December ritual has lost its spiritual mojo. We want not to be wedded to Cindy Loo Hoo who is annually “kerfuddled” at the “superfluous” nature of the season. We want our holidays to be about something. We want our spirits to soar somewhere above the suffocating heap of packages, boxes, and bows; and the constant media nudge to get gobs of gizmos so that we might have and be enough.
What is it that we really want in a holiday? Connection. Meaning. Purpose. And cool fashionable STUFF—let’s be honest. We are our own heroes, right? We are part of something greater than ourselves, remember? We belong to each other as a species, to nature, and our planet; this we have in common, no matter our faith, party, skin color, sexual orientation, or bridge club.
What’s in a present?
Hark, we bring tidings of joyful purpose that sustainable brands are making possible! Before going for your first impulse to buy something new for a loved-one, consider the gift of an experience (massage, day-hike and picnic, hot springs soak, breakfast in bed coupons…), then think of upcycling something and re-making something new, and lastly, shop sustainable brands.
Follow the lead of those who are forming, supporting, and growing—with their knowledge, dollars, and hearts— purpose and sustainable brands around the world; a new way of designing and doing business is real and global and, it’s…actually, sexy. Why is it sexy? Because we are putting awesome design and craft back into how we make every day things—from fashion to food— through sustainable sourcing, design, and circularity (taking extraction and waste out of manufacturing and production) and giving gifts meaning again—we’re moving from giving STUFF to giving meaningful, life-giving presents.
Sustainable fashion gift guide
We’re here to tell you that there’s another option for “going green” than the Grinch this holiday. And it isn’t only hemp and organic cotton wide leg pants or a tiny hat made from yak hair in Tibet. Check out these global sustainable brands for loved ones on your list: People Tree, Klow, Olderbrother, Kit Culture; Patagonia, Tact & Stone, Kotn, Taylor Stitch, The RealReal, Vestiaire Collective, WAMA Underwear, ASKET, Apolis, Nau, Levi’s, Adida’s, Eileen Fisher, Patagonia These brands and so many more re taking the world by storm with sustainably-sourced materials and non-toxic splashes of color and circular techno cool.
What makes a sustainable or purpose fashion brand? Take Michigan-based Rockay who makes high-performance running socks from recycled ocean plastic, for example; or flip-flops made from the aptly named Green Flip Flops, based in Brazil, are 100 percent recyclable and made from renewable, plant-based materials such as soy and sugarcane; and Nothing New’s sneakers are a new sustainable way to re-make the classic Converse—with recycled plastic uppers; or take Allbirds, our climateneutral favorite footwear; or terrain-ready boots and shoes from Sweden’s Icebug, which earlier this year became the world’s first climate-positive outdoor footwear brand.
Better still, sustainable fashion doesn’t appear to be a fad or a green washing campaign. In fact, over 150 global fashion companies joined the G7 pact to lessen their toxic impact. The Pact is noteworthy because it’s a first-of-its-kind initiative that’s uniting the biggest names in fashion, and many are known competitors. Even weddings are going sustainable.
Further, sustainable fashion also considers the people, not just the planet and the profit. The UN’s Ethical Fashion Initiative‘s mantra: ‘Not charity. Just work’ flips the holiday season of charitable giving on its head. This jobs initiative connects artisans from the developing world with top international fashion brands. The goal is to radically reform the fashion industry by guaranteeing good working conditions, a liveable wage and a minimal impact on the environment.
The throw away culture is over
The throwaway culture is so over, as cued from fashion royalty, like Anna Wintour, who is interested in the design process for clothes and is all about hanging onto our clothes; to British royalty, like, Kate Middleton, who wore a dress twice—aka, 2X—which caused the moon and sun to nearly traded places. Thrift shops are the new vogue and shops like Banana Republic and Urban Outfitters, Anthropology, and Free People have set up rental of their clothing.
Sustainable tech meets
Technology is our friend. Indeed, technology makes it possible to spin fishing nets into yoga clothes (Ruby Moon) or pineapple skins and orange peels into an entire spring collection without making people look like fruit baskets, (even H&M is committing to sustainable fashion), or virtually “try on clothes” so we don’t add to the carbon index through so many shipping returns.
Speaking of tech eco-cool: House of Marley introduced the Liberate Air — next-generation wireless earbuds with a 9-hour on board battery life; designed using bamboo, recyclable aluminum and signature REWIND™ fabric composed of recycled plastic bottles for truly sustainable sound. And Project Marley is helping to sustain the outdoors through a global reforestation partnership with One Tree Planted.
The entire online shopping — and returning — process is flowing with waste, both in packaging and product. But several new purpose brands are working to correct that: Shop Your Fit and FlipFit, aim to eliminate waste from online clothes shopping. And more forward-thinking retailers are using reusable packaging solutions such as RePack (participating retailers) and Returnity (participating retailers) to cut down on the mountains of plastic and cardboard packaging waste.
And, wow, did you know that Evrnu just received $6+ million dollars from the likes of Adidas for their sustainable INVENTION of a new kind of fiber made from discarded clothing called NuCycl. This is serious progress toward creating a circular fashion industry.
Fashionable citizen advocates
Remember, we are on our path of progress—and we need to look and feel good achieving it. 🙂 We, the people, must do our part and participate. How? Along with reduce, reuse, and recycle, let’s add: buy, post, and share purpose and sustainable brands. When you do, you are taking action; you are helping these brands grow; eventually sustainable fashion will become business as usual. We, the people, are kind of the keystone to supply and demand economics, remember? And, it’s our purchasing power and social voice that gets not only the attention of your friends, but company executives/owners and share-holders. It’s how to transform the industry.
To the skeptics who consider sustainable fashion a fad, well we appreciate a healthy debate and to you we answer: that’s what they said about democracy, hulu hoops, and a woman’s right to vote. What we have right here is a grass roots sustainable design movement (yes, that’s what this IS and we want you to be part of it!); we’re spearheading the next economic revolution. We had the Industrial Revolution when we needed it and sustainability is the new snow-dusted frontier—just in time too ‘cause this decade is crucial to creating a livable economy and planet.
We belong to our world and each other. ‘Tis the season to be inspired. Go on… start your own purpose brand or support the thousands of companies local and global that are putting purpose side by side with profit, people, and the planet this holiday season—wrap that up and put the tinsel on the tree of life.
“Bam! Mike drop,” says Pooh. Tiddily pum.
Co-authored by: Elizabeth A. Arlen (writer, editor, and humorist) and
Claire E. Attkisson (Sustainability geek and Creative Director at Live Creative Studio)
Live Creative Studio specializes in strategic creative for purpose brands. What is a purpose brand? A purpose brand is a force for good in the world. Some even strive for a triple bottom line business model where profit, people, and the planet are drivers of the brand.
We are a full-service branding and marketing agency offering our clients graphic design, web development and design, brand identity, digital marketing (SEO + social), and copywriting.