The Global Community Holiday Guide
Here is my scoop on the holidays:
I was fortunate enough to be raised by an artist who instilled in me the importance of making as many gifts as you can. If you can't make it, at the very least you can make the card or the wrapping paper --in my house wrapping paper was (still is) either the comic strips from a newspaper or I was given free reign to colour the shit out of the many rolls of plain newsprint or craft paper kicking around. The decorated plain paper also doubled as a de-facto card. Less waste = big win.
In the recent years I've made more cookies than I can count, Amanita Muscaria Christmas tree ornaments out of prosecco corks (when we lived in Italy and a bottle of wine was only a couple of dollars. Sorry, North American friends, but you aren't getting a twenty dollar cork mushroom any time soon), a reindeer stop-motion video made with, yet again, wine corks (I'll try to dig this gem out of the archives and share it. It's a doozy.), scarves, scarves, and more scarves.
And if the item I am hoping to gift isn't in my repertoire of crafting (Stefano is still getting a scarf this year. Shh. Don't tell him.) I head out to markets or local shops to get the goods.
This year I'm exploring the other locals.
One thing that I really credit my community on social media for is bringing to my attention the broader definition of local. The local communities in the States, Peru, Uganda, or Toronto. The locals across the world creating and crafting beautiful goods that support themselves and their local-local collective.
We live in a globalised world. An atrocity that happens on the other side of the planet is not an abstract event. We see it, we all have friends who 'check in' on social media to either protest, stand in solidarity with, or let us know that they are safe. We see, feel, and experience life on an incomprehensible scale. We know that there are horrendous working conditions and companies that exploit citizens of Earth on the daily. Not just in isolated places but in our own backyards where we blindly assume that "Made in America" stands for fairtrade and wholesome apple pie values (read this).
So what am I trying to get at here? Of course you are encouraged to support your local-local. But just because it's locally owned doesn't mean the goods for sale are either ethical or sustainable. A fuzzy tea-cozy at a christmas fair might be made in your community, but where is the wool from?Was a farmer or animal exploited in the process? Was the yarn produced by a small-scale mill or a massive international conglomerate? These are questions to consider. At the end of the day, if it was your friend's grandma who made the tea-cozy, I'd say, hell yeah! Give her your money. She deserves every penny no matter what. But just be open-minded and aware, consider opening up to the global holiday market. I love the idea of seeking out makers and companies that include giving back as part of their brand's manifesto. Companies like Fazl Socks (listed below) produce adorable socks ethically produced by women in the Himalayas and 50% of the profits go to support children's homes in India.
This post is meant to emphasize goods that not only reflect my values of movement-friendly and eco-centric but that also support our greater global community. This could be by using organic, deadstock, or recycled materials, paying genuine fair wages, or giving back a portion of their profits to a nonprofit, a community, or natural habitat in need.
Use your virtual connection to the world as an entry into a giant holiday craft fair.
What I'd Love to Wear/Share/and Show How I Care This Festive Season:
-Patagonia. I couldn't have written this post without mentioning Patagonia. Not only do they donate 1% of every sale to the preservation and restoration of the planet, but on Black Friday this year, they donated 100% of their profits to nonprofits. One hundred percent. That equated to $10 million. I am also a huge fan of their use of recycled materials as well. This jacket is super cute and made entirely of recycled wool, down, and polyester materials.
Preloved. Hot damn, I actually can't believe I haven't shared Preloved with you all before. Every piece is individually crafted by combining reclaimed vintage with deadstock and overrun fabrics. Each piece is completely different and uses fabrics that would normally be discarded. This sweater is my favourite.
-Sweet Skin Hemp. Their 'bike pants' have now reached infamous levels in my circle. I'd pair them with cozy socks for a long winter walk. All organic and perfect to incorporate into a movement-centric wardrobe.
"[...] Synergy’s commitment to wanting to help create opportunities and empowerment for everyone in the Synergy supply chain, has been central to Synergy’s mission. We are committed to using the highest quality organic materials, which protects the farmers who grow the organic cotton, the people who knit and create the fabrics, everyone who works on cutting and sewing and packing our clothing, all of whom are paid fair living wages and work in healthy work environments. Every hand that goes into creating our clothing is connected, along with each person who makes the choice to purchase and wear our clothing, in essence connecting ourselves to a global economy and community. Synergy has gone onto helping empower people in Nepal , particularly women and children by giving back to non profit groups in Nepal focused on providing financial empowerment to women and education for children to help build a healthy future for those people and generations to come. "
-Icebreaker. Back in Italy I stocked up on wool sweaters and socks. I had my favourite vendors, and years later, they still remembered this little ginger when I would go crawling back for more. And now that I am on the west coast of Canada, the wet winters have me longing for woollen goods again. I have these leggings and I wear them religiously. They are perfect for winter cycles and windy coastal hikes. Icebreaker is known in the industry for their corporate transparency and high regard for the natural world including the land, animals (including people), and resources (recycled water) that they consume.
-Freelabel. A good basic t-shirt is a must in every wardrobe. One that checks off all the boxes of ethical, organic, and easy to move in. Also, importantly, one that doesn't break the bank since a good t-shirt usually gets the most play. I love the exaggerated baseball hem of this shirt. It looks great on it's own but also worn over leggings and under a chunky sweater.
-Milestone leather. For the movers out there: The Wander Convertible Bag is the perfect bag to help you distribute loads as you venture. It can transform into a backpack, tote bag, messenger bag, or fold-over purse. 10% of every purchase made goes towards the Polaris Project. The largest non-profit in the US that "combats all forms of human trafficking: sex slavery, labor trafficking, and child labor."
-Hemp & Company. I have been loving my recent pieces from Hemp & Company. H&C are the OG sustainable kids on the block --a block that happens to be based in my beautiful city of Victoria, BC. Hemp has also been one of my go-to fabrics for years and I'll be wearing this cozy top all season with leggings and culottes.
-Christy Dawn. Last year, I had a wedding on New Year's Eve and would have loved a classic dress from their collection (but with merino leggings underneath since it was held in one of the coldest places in Canada...IN THE WINTER). Their dresses are so beautiful and airy and made entirely of deadstock fabric. This is absolutely stunning.
-Fazl Socks. Fact: No one is every too old to receive socks as a gift. I am a sucker for woolly socks and have a collection that I have loved and repaired over the years. I love the colours in these ones. As mentioned above, Fazl is a company that includes social awareness and the global impact as the basis of their mission statement.
-*Wild card entry: A knitting tutorial! Seriously, though. As someone who failed miserably during knitting lessons at school (any other Waldorf kids out there?), I would love a great lesson on how to knit something more complicated than a scarf. Any hot tips?