Pile of Christmas gift boxesVARIOUS

Fashion and beauty editors might actually be able to see their desks this holiday season.

Earlier this month, a group of editors from a number of publications urged brands — via social media — to cut back on swag in a bid to be more sustainable, although they didn’t completely reject the idea of free gifts from publicists.

Now, it appears that some fashion and beauty companies have heard this call or were already rethinking their policies, as opt-in gifting or charitable donations in lieu of a physical gift are becoming a growing trend. 

Here are eight brands, many of which have a core sustainable purpose, that are making a change for the holidays.


Instead of sending gifts to fashion editors and reporters recently, the Brazilian footwear brand has been donating trees to be planted in their name. It started doing this a few months ago and is now planning how it can expand sustainable gifting beyond planting trees.

“Given the topic of conversation and the core of Cariuma centering around sustainability, we thought it only appropriate to continue that effort in something that would give back to them and our planet in a more meaningful way,” said Michelle Katz, its public relations manager.

Cariuma, footwear, sustainable

Cariuma sneakers  Courtesy Image



Another shoe company adopting a sustainable gifting policy to fashion editors is Allbirds. It recently gave editors an opt-in gift option for the holidays, so the items will not go to waste.

“In an effort to be conscious of excess gifting, we wanted to confirm that you are interested in receiving a gift from the brand. The gift will include an Allbirds gift card, along with other small sustainable goodies to make your holiday travels a little smoother,” it said in an e-mail.

As well as reusable and recycled materials for gift packaging, Allbirds is also adding an extra sustainable touch to each gift: including a carbon certificate that offsets the carbon of one home-bound flight.


An Allbirds store in China.  Courtesy


Urban Decay

The L’Oréal-owned cosmetics brand also recently e-mailed beauty editors and influencers, asking if they want to receive a new product that is launching, instead of sending them to its whole list, as it has done in the past.

They had one week to let them know and more than 70 percent chose to still be sent these products on a regular basis. The rest either opted in favor of fewer packages or to just receive information about launches and then request products as they wish.

“As an effort to eliminate unnecessary waste and work more collaboratively, we wanted to give our network the chance to tell us what they’d like to receive from us and when,” said a spokeswoman for Urban Decay, who added that this feature is here to stay.

Urban Decay at ComplexCon 2018. 


Karen Walker 

The New Zealand-born designer has created a card for World Vision’s Smiles Gifts initiative to help raise money for vulnerable children and will be buying so-called smiles gifts on behalf of certain editors. This includes sending food to those in need.

Karen Walker RTW Spring 2020

Karen Walker RTW Spring 2020  Courtesy Photo


Will & Bear

Hat brand Will & Bear already does opt-in gifting for both editors and influencers, rather than a “spray and pray” approach, as a spokeswoman put it. Will & Bear has also been planting 10 trees for every hat sold since the brand’s inception in 2016 and has always followed a more considered gifting strategy.

Will & Bear campaign 



In the past, Chantecaille has offered editors the chance to adopt an elephant orphan from the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Kenya and this year it’s also giving them the choice of adopting either a lion cub through Lion Guardians in Kenya or a giraffe through the Giraffe Conservation Foundation in Namibia. This is the third year in a row it has done this in lieu of a tangible gift and it’s the same policy for influencers.

Olivia Chantecaille, its creative director, said: “We want our gifts to share what we love and care about: animals, nature and the planet. We love connecting people with nature, and our philanthropy initiatives seem to resonate deeply with the editors. This gift idea felt right for this moment — it’s sustainable, impactful and, we hope, meaningful.”

Olivia Chantecaille  Photo by Lexie Moreland


She Made Me

For the first time, swimwear company She Made Me has decided to refrain from gifting completely this holiday season. In doing so, it aims to minimize its carbon footprint and waste, but also aims to promote and protect its core value of slow fashion production and slow fashion consumption.

She Made Me campaign 



The hair-care brand has donated to the Humane Society as a gift to editors this year. The donation was sent along with a small gift using recyclable materials — Moroccanoil’s limited-edition Beauty Vault, which features a few travel-size bestsellers.

Moroccanoil products 


Read more here:

Beauty Vloggers Speak Out Against Excessive Beauty Packaging

Fresh Takes on ‘Sustainability’ – Except Call It Ecology

There’s an ‘Alarming Inability to Overcome Trade-offs,’ Disparity in Sustainable Development

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