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A Sustainable + Ethical Gift For Everyone On Your List

There is still time to find the perfect sustainable Christmas gifts. Maybe I am biased because I personally know all the founders of these brands. But, I love what they make, believe in their values, and want to support them any way I can. So if you are looking for a sustainable and ethical gift for someone special this holiday season, this is the gift guide you need.

I rarely do shopping guides like this one. But, this year is a little different. And, I am happy to personally recommend all of these brands because I know most of their supply chains intimately so I know they are the real deal.

Holiday 2020 - Sustainable Christmas Gifts + Year-Round Ethical Gift Guide

Four Rabbit

Meet The Founder

arielle four rabbit block print zero waste shirt in bagru

I met Arielle two years ago when she came to India with me for a month. One of my favorite memories from that trip was how over the 10 days Arielle created a custom shirt. She had a factory sew her zero waste pattern, then with the block printers in Bagru she used her custom-made snake and rabbit blocks to print the shirts. One of the shirts she dipped in an underground indigo dye vat. And, lastly in Mahesware when we were visiting weavers she took advantage of a natural plant-based dye vat on the roof and gave the other shirt a little color in a millennial pink hue.

When Ariel isn't working on her brand Four Rabbit she can be found on some of tvs most exclusive film sets (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmit, The Flight Attendant, and more) managing the makeup department.

On My Wish List

four rabbit game bandana - ethical gift

Check out the range of bandanas that can be used to not only cover your face, but laid flat, they become a board game (complete with playing pieces)!

tsunami jacket - Eco friendly gifts

I already own one of Arielle's Tsunami Jackets. Made of lightweight waterproof Tyvek, utilizing a zero-waste pattern design. And love it. It is the perfect jacket for travel because it folds up really small, and weighs basically nothing. It's always in my bag during monsoon season in India. The jacket is available on her website as well as the Cooper Hewit Design Museum in NYC.

Use code WINTER15 for 15% off - good until December 15.

Pauline Fink Designs

Meet The Artist

me and pauline at Ranakpur Jain Temple

Pauline is my boyfriend's sister. I told you from the start this list was going to be all people I know. Pauline's tagline says it best - "functional profanity", and all of her conversational ceramic pieces are designed to be used. 

When asked why all the nipples, Pauline responds - "Because nipples make people smile. Arts not worth doing if it’s not fun, and there’s nothing more fun than making something that makes someone laugh or smile."


On My Wish List

kiss my ash-tray - sustainable christmas gifts

The Kiss My Ash-Tray feels almost too cute to be used.

tiny titty cup

And, I have been eying the Titty Cup. One of Pauline's best sellers. Personally, I like my art to be subtle, where you need to do a double-take to understand what it is, and this cup totally does that.


Meet The Designer

virtue + vice, symbology clothing, harago

Melanie of virtue + vice, Marissa of Symbology Clothing, Harsh of Harago - Jaipur Nights!

Harsh Agarwal is the founder and creative vision behind Harago, a men's line based in Jaipur. But, I totally wear the pieces too. We are newish, but fast friends. But, that is probably because we have so much in common. Love of textiles? Check. Love of finding delicious new places to eat? Check. Interested in connecting designers with artisans? Check. Obsessed with working in Jaipur? Check, check, and check.

Harsh's brand while new to the Indian fashion scene, has been exploding. Think of it kind of like NYC's Bode, but in my opinion way more authentic and without the whole colonial vibe.

Harsh specializes in traveling all over India to build out his sustainably sourced supply chain, working with artisan clusters, and finding some of the most beautiful vintage fabrics.

If you are looking for a vintage one of a kind piece. I could not recommend his line more.

On My Wish List

vintage khadi, embroidery, harago

A vintage hand embroidered shaku cross-stitch coordinate set made from a 1990s cotton textile from which belonged to Agarwal's grandmother.

harago set, jaipur vintage textile clothing

Check out Harsh's Instagram and message him to buy his unique one of a kind pieces

Studio Tia

Meet The Founder

Tia is a friend from Goa. You might recognize her from the late Hippie in Heels blog - Rachel was also a friend as well as a huge supporter of her easy to wear beachwear line with a focus on hand-loomed textiles and organic cottons.

Tia and I became friends when we were both on a trip to Jaipur and our paths crossed. I have been lucky to watch her line grow from a small tent at her moms restaurant, to collection of different shops all over Goa, as well as pieces selling in selected boutiques in the UK and Spain.

On My Wish List

studio tia swimsuit ethical gifts

Tia's swimsuits have become a staple of the Goa beach scene. Buying a swimsuit is nearly impossible in India unless you are in one of the big cities. Tia has found a niche, offering affordable ethically made suits to both locals and yogi tourists alike.

studio tia cut out dress, goa

I have also had my eye on the Aurora Dress. I am loving this dress with on-trend side cutouts. It's the perfect blend of loose and breezy, but still sexy so you don't feel like you are wearing a moo-moo.

Symbology Clothing / Etico Boutique

Meet Marissa

(Pictured above with Harsh)

Marissa and I have been spending time together in Jaipur for a few years now. Marissa has become my partner in crim for finding new suppliers, and the person I call when I need to go on a trek far outside the city to meet a new group of artisans.

Marissa's focus is on creating safe jobs for women and preserving artisan crafts.

Last year, she opened a retail location in Fort Worth, Texas - Etico. It is a space for women-owned ethical brands to sell their products and has become a local hub for all things feminism.

On My Wish List

symbology clothing ethical gift ideas robe block print

The Art Deco Lounge Robe. I think part of the reason I am drawn to this so much is that it reminds me a lot of Marissa's personal style. And, of course, I am a sucker for all things block printed.

I don't know about all of you, but since the pandemic hit I have been rocking robes both in and out of the house. While my fuzzy pink robe is a little too pajama-ish to wear on errands, this robe is the perfect blend of style and comfort that would also look great on a grocery store run.

etico african earrings - ethical gift giving

And, from Etico. I am loving these Aura Earrings, created through a partnership with the women of Jimani Collections and artisans in the impoverished area of Nairobi.

PS, the Etico site is also a great spot to shop for home goods and other fair trade gifts and holiday gift sets.


Meet The Founder

Bhaavya is another Jaipur friend, who also loves working with artisans. We keep planning trips to Gujarat to visit some new groups, but something always comes up coming up for one of us. This year, it's COVID.

Bhaavya is my secret weapon for all things sustainable and ethical in India. She knows who is the real deal, who is greenwashing, and is up on the newest suppliers. Girl knows her stuff, and is fully emersed in the conscious fashion movement.

Bhaavya's brand is pretty well known in India for taking the scraps from her dad's sewing factory, upcycling them into yarns, and then having them handwoven in her own weaving unit right outside of Jaipur.

On My Wish List

iro iro upcycled zero waste jacket

This navy and lime upcycled jacket. Because all of the pieces are one of a kind you have to get them while you can. Message her on Instagram or her website to see what is available.

Miranda Watson Designs

Meet Miranda

melanie and miranda in ahmedabad gujarat

Miranda Watson is another India trip person who became a friend person in my life. If you subscribe to my newsletter you might have seen that in the fall Miranda's home studio burned down, while everyone was ok, she did lose everything. I am happy to say that she is back in action and ready for our sustainable gifts guide with some amazing items.

One of my favorite memories of Miranda was after we got massages in Jaipur. We were both so relaxed at dinner all we could do was laugh. I am pretty sure the people next to us as at Jaipur Modern thought we were absolutely nuts. But, I would say that is a sign of a damn good massage - when you feel almost high after.

miranda watson textil sourcing

Miranda in her element - sipping chai and looking at textiles

If you are curious about the massages we got they are called a pizhichil massage. The first half of they pour gallons of hot oil over your entire body, and the second half is a gentle massage. The person who introduced me to this unique Ayurvedic type of massage was actually Marissa of Symbology, who I mentioned earlier.

If you are ever in the situation to get one of these massages, 10 out of 10 I recommend you get it. And, if you are in the market for a winter coat or some fashionable masks, I recommend one by Miranda just as much.

On My Wish List

miranda watson cotton canvas coat - ethical gift

This waxed canvas coat. I am a huge fan of waxed canvas, and to be frank, I don't think it is used enough in the world of sustainable fashion. It's all-natural, comfortable, and is water-resistant.

miranda watson reusable mask embroidered with flower and matching shirt

If your budget is a little lower, check out this cute little embroidered mask. What I love the most about Miranda's masks is that they cover your entire face, no nose slip and chin diapers here.


Meet The Founder and Creative

The founder and creative behind the brand, Christopher, is actually one of my students in the 6-Month Masterclass. While Christopher already has a small line going that is made locally in Hawaii with eco-friendly dyes, he is looking to expand his manufacturing capabilities and start working with Indian artisans.

His designs offer east meets west aesthetics that play with the idea of space between textiles and the body. IMO, the designs are on par for what you would see in boutique shops in NYC, but for a fraction of the price. The collection is perfect for your fashion-forward friend that you aren't sure what to get.

On My Wish List

CYC zero waste fashion

Kitsune Shadow Layer. I am loving this piece with a subtly hidden face. As a true New Yorker who wears mostly black all day every day, it can be difficult to not look like you are wearing the same thing every day. This top is the perfect pop of design for those of us who in the words of my boyfriend like to dress "like you're going to go cast a spell."

Big Square Shirt - Something about the tie-dye technique and the colors of this shirt really pulls me in. I know I said I like to wear black, but I would definitely rock this at a backyard bbq this summer. Who said ethical gifts for the holidays need to be for cold weather only?

Sea Sage

Founder and creative Amy is another client who became a friend. I even got to show her around Goa for a few days and shop the flea markets together.

Amy grew up in Turks and Caicos, and I think her line is what we are all needing right now - something to transport ourselves into a tropical vacation even though we can't leave our homes.

And, bonus with this one. I can speak directly to the ethics and practices of how the clothing because we make it in one of my factories! When you buy Sea Sage you are buying garments that are really helping and giving back to the people that made them.

On My Wish List

sea sage ethical vegan silk wrap skirt

Calico Printed Wrap Skirt. Amy has a great eye for prints, and I love this one. And, remember to check back soon, I already got to see her next season's collections and the prints and colors are just as great!

sea sage recycled polyester bikini

I am also loving the Catamaran Bandeau Top and High Waisted Bottom in Clouds. The materials on these suits are super high quality, and I love the fact that the cuts are different than a lot of the other swim lines out there.

LA Private Pilates

(They are digital, so you can join in from anywhere…)

Hilary Curwen - LA Private Pilates

Founder and instructor Hilary Curwen is a friend of mine back from my competitive gymnastics days. When she left the sport Hilary was competing at level 8. What that translates to for everyone else that wasn't a gymnast - She was pretty hardcore and extremely strong.

When I do workouts I want them to be as effective as possible. And, Hilary knows what she is doing. If you are looking to lift and lean, shed holiday pounds, or just getting moving - try her classes. I have taken a few and thankfully there are alterations to the exercises to make them easier for beginners.

Bonus, Hilary is also an actress and comedian, so she keeps her classes entertaining to get you through difficult reps.

Romania travel picture

Oh hey, here we are when we were 12 and traveled to Romania for 2 weeks to train with Olympic hopefuls. This photo was taken I believe in Transylvania when we had some time off and were touring the country. Check out that view!

Does anyone else have other sustainable and ethical gift ideas?

Please share in the comments.

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