Plenty of us look around at Christmas and think “do I really want more stuff?”, or “what do I get for the person who has everything?” In these cases, things like subscriptions and charity gifts can be a great option. We’re planning to give our charity cash to Crack + Cider this year. It’s a pretty simple idea – you take the ticket for your selected item to the till and pay, and instead of taking the item yourself it’s given to a homeless person in need. The products available range from hats and gloves to high performance coats and bags, and you can purchase them online, or from One Good Deed Today. Another great option is a subscription to Ethical Consumer. This online resource collates research and reports into the activities of a huge range of companies, so that you as a consumer can make more ethical choices for all kinds of routine purchases. Alternatively, a Vegan Society membership is a really great gift for anyone who might like to be a genuine card-carrying vegan – it entitles the user to a bunch of discounts in vegan-friendly retailers, and a subscription to The Vegan. If, however, your loved ones will be happier with a well-stuffed stocking on Christmas morning, check out the rest of our list below for our most coveted items…
Top of my own wishlist is some new jeans – I’m fed up of buying jeans that rip or sag after a couple of months, and always feel it’s a waste to throw these out after all the resources that go into producing a pair of jeans. Both Mud and Nudie jeans have the answer! Nudie Jeans offer a great range (and no male/female divisions, just great cuts). They offer loads of options for repairing, reusing and recycling your jeans: nothing says Christmas like circular economy! Mud Jeans also champion the circular economy and, like Nudie, they put a lot of effort into making their production as sustainable and fair as possible. Mud offer options to purchase and lease their jeans, so you can swap out or upgrade to a new pair when you want to. Mud are also a B Corporation. Both companies provide an admirable level of transparency around their production and sourcing, and offer realistic and appealing options for recycling and reusing your jeans.
So we all know that Beyonce wore a ‘KALE’ sweatshirt and suddenly they’d sold out everywhere, but I think the sweatshirt is old news. What I’m after is a KALE heart necklace from All Glamour No Guts, in collaboration with Bete Noire. A totally vegan company with ethics at their heart, AGNG provide accessories and garments, as well as more functional items like raw vegan lip balms and after tattoo treatment. For the pun enthusiast in your life, maybe the HAIL SEITAN necklace will be even more fitting…
If accessories are your thing but you’re after a real classic, you can’t go far wrong with a Matt & Nat bag. I’ve caught myself countless times admiring a bag from afar, only to realise when I get a little closer that it’s by Matt & Nat. This vegan brand focus on classic styles and shapes with a contemporary twist, and there’s something for everyone. They also make great wallets and purses, and other accessories too.
My current coat was bought on a whim when I had a tight budget and a looming work trip to Canada in March. That was OK with me, until I found out about HoodLamb and their incredible coats – made entirely from hemp with some careful thinking around production and workforce, these are stylish and durable coats with sustainability at their heart. Something to covet, for sure.
It’s easy to over-indulge at Christmas, so why not speed up your recovery with some seriously tasty coffee roasted right here in the UK. Jericho Coffee Traders roast their beans in Oxford, and ship them around the UK, and have just started offering a subscription service too. We’ve tried several of the varieties and visited their roaster, and their dedication to a quality product really comes through in those tasty tasty beans!
I’ll be honest, I love a candle all year round, but there is nothing I like better than a scented candle, a Christmas movie, and all my gift wrapping (even better if the weather outside is foul). Earl of East London produce great soywax candles, and their Smoke & Musk scent is absolutely perfect for a cosy winter night in. If you fancy something a bit more overtly festive, the Yule Spice candle from Corinne Taylor seems to last for ages, and gives a gently festive scent with cinnamon, cloves, and basically all the mull you could want (except the wine).
Honest Skin Care produce all natural and fantastically simple skincare products as well as room sprays and candles, and they also have a lovely looking Treatment Room in Birmingham (UK). I’ve got my eye on the black pepper and lemongrass handwash, but I don’t think I’d be too put out if Santa managed to get a trip to the Treatment Room in my stocking!
One of the best bits of Christmas (for me, anyway) is filling the cupboards with loads of lovely treats and snacks for those festive movie sessions and visits from friends. This is slightly harder as a vegan, but far from impossible. As well as picking up anything that takes our fancy from the Accidentally Vegan Instagram account, we’ve also got our eyes on a few special treats. For our morning coffee (or afternoon slump), we’re planning to pick up a delicious home-baked panettone from Pomodoro e Basilico. For those chilly evenings in front of a favourite film, some Jaz and Juls hot chocolate (with their vegan marshmallows included, of course!). If you’re after something really decadent, you can’t go wrong with a box of Booja Booja truffles *hint hint*. Finally, no Christmas would be complete without mince pies, and Foods of Athenry make some luxury ones which are completely vegan.
If you’re after a pair of non-leather shoes for yourself or a loved one, Wills have got your back. Wills are a UK based company who specialise in ethically produced vegan shoes. Their wide range caters for people looking for male or female styles. I have a pair of which have lasted me ages. If you’re after something a bit more casual, it’s something approaching impossible to find a pair of trainers that aren’t made by a multinational. Muroexe have stepped up to produce a fresh and clean looking shoe. The simplicity in their design is coupled with the discerning colour range of available styles. Manufactured in Europe, utilising vegan friendly materials, that are good for animals and humans alike.
Ethletic challenge the status quo. Their sneakers are vegan, produced in Fair Trade supply chains and use organic materials. The classic range of hi and low top sneakers may look like others on the market, but they are worlds apart. You can’t help but applaud everything this company is about. Style and substance in equal measure.
To show off your new shoes you’ll need some legit socks. Minga Berlin Socks come in playful range of styles. Their socks are unisex (thumbs up) and produced to the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). I love their plain and colourful patterned socks in equal measure. They have three kinds of black sock available which I think is a great thing. I’m definitely going to pick a few pairs up. Companies like this make me happy. They prove that ethical goods do not have to forsake aesthetic appeal.
Ethics and Antics apparel is all over social media at the moment. And with good reason. They present the vegan message in a subtle way. Those of us in the know ‘get it’ without coming across as militant to the Majority. The VGANG tee is sick. I’m also a fan of the fact they use different kinds of people to model their garms.
Black Sage Supply create utilitarian goods free from leather, wool or animal-based waxes. They produce, among other things, bags, belts and aprons. Many of the pieces are made to order. Their waxed aprons are rather smart. Get one for the wanna-be barista in your life. I was put onto Black Sage Supply by Dark Arts Coffee. They roast great coffee in Hackney and are refreshingly chilled out about it. Their filter – Heart of Darkness is my go-to from them. Check out their Instagram page for movie nights with vegan food too.
I’m big into Christmas but hate the nonsensical perfume and aftershave adverts we’re subjected to at this time of year. Haeckels create handcrafted fragrances in their lab on the clifftops of Margate. They also have a considered range for hair, body and skin all presented with stripped back branding. Of their perfume range, Eau de Parfum 26 is the stand out for me.
It’s not just clothing and toiletries that are wising up to an ethical and sustainable way of doing business. Fairphone have designed and manufactured the worlds first ethically produced smart phone. They’re a B-corp, and launched Fairphone 2 in the last quarter of 2015. From funding and mining to design and manufacture, ethics are at the heart of this product. It has been produced to be easily repaired and thus sustain the lifespan of each device. My current phone is on the way out so I’m looking to pick one up.
Reproduced under CC BY-NC-SA, Credit: Fairphone, via Flickr