How to shop for the ethically conscious fashion lover in your life

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It’s no secret that 2020 has been the year we’ve fallen out of love with fast fashion. From concerns over climate change to evidence of the poor labour conditions behind many of our favourite high street brands, it’s easy to see why so many former fast fashion lovers have made the switch to more sustainable shopping. However, in the lead up to Christmas this can start to pose an issue: no longer can you just nip out for a Topshop gift card or browse the trending section of ASOS for the fashion lover in your life, and if you’re just starting out in the world of sustainable shopping, it can seem incredibly difficult to navigate. No need to worry, we’ve got you covered with these gift ideas that are all 100% sustainable, environmentally conscious, and still incredibly on trend without breaking the bank.

Start local

2020 has been a notoriously hard year for small businesses across the UK, so there’s no easier way to shop consciously than to start with your local community. The Mugwump on Saddler Street has pre bookable slots available for browsing through their eclectic selection of goods, or are happy to arrange item collection on request. If you can’t find anything there or prefer to shop online, you can filter your Etsy search by location to make sure you’re supporting businesses in your local area, no matter what item of clothing or jewellery it is you’re after!

Focus on renewing

Slow fashion isn’t just about shopping from more sustainable businesses or avoiding high street shops, it’s about consuming less overall, and making what you already have last longer. So instead of buying them something new, how about helping them renew the things they already have? A beginners’ embroidery kit is a great, long lasting purchase that will allow them to transform a hole in their jeans into anything from a flower garden to a geometric pattern. Now a rip in their favourite jumper isn’t the end of the garment, but the start of an entirely new piece of clothing. Alternatively, you could invest in a knitting kit for a jumper or a pair of socks; this DIY will not only provide them with a new hobby, but will allow them to go longer without purchasing something new – and, they’ll likely value it all the more for having made it themselves.

Consider buying from student businesses

The Durham Charity Fashion Show has decided to shine the spotlight on student businesses this year through the DUCFS marketplace. There are currently five student sellers listed on the platform, which can be accessed through the DUCFS website. From preloved vintage, to expressive slogan t-shirts, to statement handmade jewellery, there is something in the marketplace for everyone, so you’ll be sure of finding them something they’ll love, with the added benefit of supporting a fellow Durham student in the process!

Get them some ethically and environmentally conscious jewellery 

Though you might not think it, jewellery buying is a minefield of ethical dilemmas. The diamond industry has been linked to human rights abuses, including the use of child slave labour, and conflict in areas such as Sierra Leone and Liberia (among many others) for decades now. Voice International, which works with female artisans in Uganda, is one ethical alternative which aims to break the cycle of poverty and empower the artists behind their designs through providing them with fair pay, credit, and labour conditions. Another option is the UNICEF marketplace, which showcases handmade items crafted by artisans from across the world. Each purchase from their marketplace helps fund their life saving work with children in danger of violence and illness. 

Though this list might seem like a reminder of everything that’s wrong with the fashion industry right now, it also serves as a collection of simple, personal solutions. And who knows, maybe after shopping for your environmentally conscious friend, you might find yourself making some more sustainable changes too!

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