Even in the sustainability world, gift guides can be a hapless guise for consumption.
But people do need some things: be it practical wardrobe essentials like socks, a professional bag, or jewelry, which is almost always a good idea. In a twist on shopping and gifting ahead of Black Friday, WWD asked a handful of accessory business owners one question: As you approach the holidays, how are you conflating the need for more with producing less?
This is what they said.
“We are far from perfect. The quest for growth, and success, comes at the expense of resources. Our mission is ‘to make the cleanest basics on the planet,’” said Arvin Goods’ founder, Dustin Winegardner. “For Arvin Goods, that means utilizing the lowest-impact materials we can in our products and educating consumers on how they can make smarter purchases. The industry is converting slowly, but it will happen.”
For the Hat Enthusiast
Good, clean fun is the name of the game for many eco-entrepreneurs.
Arvin Goods makes clean basics — including socks and beanies — out of organic, recycled and/or discarded apparel scraps. This season’s beanies come in navy, moss and black and retail for around $30. The beanies are made of a cotton-polyester blend (75 percent recycled cotton, 20 percent recycled polyester and 5 percent elastane).
“Utilizing waste streams for new product allows brands to evolve and still grow, but minimize their impacts. This needs to be the standard,” Winegardner said.
For more eco-minded headwear picks: Try Poppy + Sage, where hats are 100 percent handmade in Bali by women artisans ($24 and up at PoppyandSageCo.com), Myssy, a Finnish knitwear brand known for its hand-knitted, waterproof beanies ($93.55 at MyssyFarm.fi), or Kkco and its 100 percent cotton, hand-dyed Gardener hat ($115 at KkcoStudio.com).
For the Bag Minimalist
Simplicity outlasts seasonality in the eco-handbook, according to Shilpa Shah, cofounder of San Francisco-based minimalist brand Cuyana.
“Our number-one goal is to create products that truly live up to our ‘fewer, better’ promise,” Shah said. “We believe in every product we make, and our holiday offering is no exception. It contains a majority of core-tested, tried-and-true, bestselling products, as well as a smaller selection of new pieces designed specifically for meaningful gifting.”
“Meaningful gifting” can come to envelop personalized gifting, according to Shah. “This season we have further enhanced our personalization offerings — from monogramming to personalized note cards.”
Shah pointed to Cuyana’s Mini Bow bag ($245 to $275) and Cuyana’s System tote ($295) for the company’s core design. Both bags are made in Leather Working Group-certified factories where leather is tanned responsibly to limit resource consumption.
For animal-free alternatives: Try the Kazeem hobo, made from pineapple leaves featuring recycled nylon and organic cotton interior ($350 at AbleMadeShop.com), the Cacta small tote ($225 at AngelaRoi.com), or Noiranca’s Grace bag ($190 at Noiranca.com).
For the Never-Without-Their-Jewelry Purist
Ethical jewelry has come a long way, but shopping one’s values is made easier when the retailer takes the lead.
Rosena Sammi is founder of online retailer The Jewelry Edit, where brands are vetted for their environmental chops, and the majority (99 percent) of brands are woman-owned.
Sammi echoed the same “fewer, nicer things” sentiment Shah stands by. “We think it’s time to embrace a new conversation about jewelry — one that highlights sustainability, quality and longevity. It’s not about filling jewelry boxes or Christmas stockings for that matter, with disposable jewelry,” she said. “It’s about investing in a jewelry wardrobe. Investing or buying something ‘luxury’ no longer means expensive. Luxury isn’t about a price point, it’s about quality and connection.”
She added that origin story — and the maker behind that flash of metal — means more today than ever. “We want you to know what you’re buying and who you’re buying it from. We want you to learn the designer’s story and use it to tell your own.”
Asked what designers she’s favoring, Sammi said: “At The Jewelry Edit, we love Soko, because it is a Certified B Corp [Benefit corporation, following strict ESG standards] that uses recycled and repurposed materials alongside an ethical, transparent supply chain.” She highlighted Soko’s Ribbon Statement hoop earrings and Layered strand ring as jewelry wardrobe starters.
For more woman-owned jewelry brands: Try Kozakh, simple, elegant jewelry handmade by a small team of women artisans in the U.S. ($34 to $117); Jam and Rico ($48 to $128), whose founder Lisette Scott pulls design influence from her Jamaican and Puerto Rican heritage; and high-end picks from Jaipur-crafted Legend Amrapali ($675 to $1,195, all at TheJewelryEdit.com).