Christmas is almost upon us, and it can be hard to shop sustainably when you’re being bombarded with discount codes for your never-ending gift list. As we move towards a more environmentally and socially conscious future, though, it’s important to think of ways we can have all the joy of festive gift-giving without contributing to the demand for mass-produced products. Here are some tips to help you shop more consciously this Christmas, along with a gifting guide featuring some of our favourite sustainable businesses.
It may seem obvious, but having a plan of action is one of the easiest ways make more considered gifting choices. Spending hours browsing online or wandering aimlessly around the shops may be tempting — and we’d still recommend doing that if you’re looking for inspiration — but that can lead to impulsive purchasing, especially if you have a tendency to leave things to the last minute (don’t we all?). Do some research in advance, and speak to your loved ones to get ideas. That way, they’ll end up with a thoughtful gift they actually want, rather than something they don’t use and may eventually get rid of.
Buying from small businesses close to you is a socially conscious choice in its own right — you’re reinvesting in your community, supporting self-employed creatives, and helping reduce the hefty shipping emissions created at this time of year. Since Christmas markets are making a return for 2021 (at long last!), they’re the first place you should head to for unique, artisanal gifts. Think handmade jewellery, home fragrances and tasty treats that are begging to be made into a hamper. You could also try your local high street or independent quarter for little boutiques and pop-up shops, too.
Studio Courtenay Gift Guide
It’d be remiss of us to not kick off the gifting guide with our own collection!
For vintage lovers, our made-to-order shirts crafted from deadstock fabrics and buttons revive trends of decades past without contributing to throwaway fast fashion culture. We have boxy bowling button-ups and blouses with voluminous puff sleeves and pussybow neckties, all in a variety of shimmery and funky-patterned finishes. Our palazzos cut a dramatic silhouette on the bottom, or for something slinkier, pick from our range of silky satin midi-skirts. And if they’re fully committed to the bold look, our patchwork bucket hats and frill-trimmed totes are the perfect sustainable accessories.
Our homeware is for the maximalists in your life. Choose from square cushions, plump and trimmed with neat piping or ruffles, or heavily patterned table linens; all made using bold, kitschy materials. Add to their gallery wall with one of our collaged art prints — they’re designed by our very own Sue Rogers, blending eclectic imagery from her archive of fashion magazines.
No festive spree is complete without the stocking fillers, and our accessories have you covered there. Notebooks backed with salvaged silks make the perfect journals for planners and daydreamers alike, while scrunchies made from offcuts and collars framed with delicate lace add finishing touches to their retro looks.
Allana is Scottish-born, Newcastle-based and just as passionate about slow fashion as we are. Her range of lounge sets, shirts and bottoms are upcycled using unwanted vintage fabrics, and she repurposes her offcuts into soft furnishings for the home, too. She caters for your furry friends, too — check out her pet bandana sets, complete with matching scrunchie, and her full sustainable clothing range on her website.
Askews Candles is a fellow North East-based small biz that specialises in vintage-inspired beeswax candles. Beeswax is great for burning; its scent is naturally slightly sweet, and it burns longer and cleaner than other wax varieties. Most importantly, though, it helps support the bee population, which is essential for sustaining global ecosystems.
The old-school aesthetics come in during the moulding process, where the wax is cast in a custom mould made from antique bottles. The result is a golden yellow ornamental candle, shaped like brewery bottles, potion flasks and lotion jars from bygone eras.
Check out their website to order!