If you’re like me and are guilty of waiting till Christmas Eve to cross off items from friends & family wish-lists, then consider yourself a last-minute shopper. Dashing through the stores with a Starbuck’s in one hand, the final race to get things done is upon us, and most likely your not laughing but crying all the way. To help turn that frown upside down, I’ve decided to put together a last-minute guide showcasing some of my favorite items by designers and brands that are giving back in a big way. From the glasses by Warby Parker, to the shoes by Parcel & Journey, every single piece within my look was designed to make a difference. Whether it’s perserving craftsmanship right here in the US, or promoting it within impoverished communities globally, it’s the perfect gift that continues to give long after the holiday season.
The glasses I’m sporting were designed by eyewear brand Warby Parker. Founded only a couple years ago, they already are changing the way see things. This summer, they hit a milestone of distributing 500,000 pairs of glasses to those in need. Their “Buy a pair, give a pair” concept is quickly becoming one that many are looking to imitate.
The scarf and shoes were created by Parcel & Journey. Recently launched, this new website has created an online shopping experience that reflects the rich colors, patterns, scents, and textures of tradition while introducing you to the hands and heritage behind the work. A process that is honored by a “trade not aid” philosophy; giving skilled artisans a chance to earn a sustainable income and provide a better life for themselves and their families. Creator, Joanna Steinberg, has made a decision to build something that would improve the lives of artisans around the world through micro-finance and craft revival, while at the same time sharing with you the history and tradition that these crafts represent.
The dress shirt underneath by sweater was designed by Mizzen + Main. Along with keeping production here in the US, their program “A Shirt for A Start” was created to aid in giving selected servicemen and women the opportunity to work and learn new skills through internships and jobs within their organization. They will pay them while they develop entrepreneurial experience, industry connections, and a better understanding. As they grow as a company, they will offer these vets more than a start. They will offer an opportunity to join them in design, logistics, communications, engineering, and other key departments – on a full-time basis. They will also connect them into our networks for continued career development and networking opportunities.
The sweater and backpack were designed by outdoor apparel company Appalatch. Priding themselves on being ethically-driven, they’ve created the first 3-D wool sweater, available to the masses, which allows for virtually zero waste and the perfect fit. Also, entirely made here in the US, Appalatch’s mission is to design, manufacture, and sell clothing and accessories that honor the people they work with, the environment that produces their materials, and the customers who support the brand.
The denim I’m wearing, I recently discovered at Brooklyn Denim Company right here in Williamsburg. The entire process is produced in the US using cone mill denim.
The timepiece on my wrist was designed by WEWOOD. Being eco-smart, the wooden watches are made from mostly scrap-wood and uses state-of-the-art Miyota movements for the guts, a hybrid of technology and nature resulting in a unique watch that’s handsome and earth friendly. In 2010, WEWOOD hit the scene as the avant-garde approach to sophisticated sustainability. Later that year, WEWOOD opened a branch in Los Angeles and teamed up with tree-planting-partners ‘American Forests’ and ‘Trees For The Future’. With this cohesive collaboration, the goal is to help restore Mother Nature, one watch at a time, by planting a tree for every WeWOOD purchased. Since 2011, WEWOOD has planted 250,000 trees with its partners and sets challenging targets for 2014 and beyond.
I’ve been obsessed with camo lately, so I couldn’t resist rocking a pair of camouflage socks by Nice Laundry. They are determined to do their part in reducing the amount of waste we shed each year. Believing in second chances, they’ve partnered with one of the nation’s oldest and largest textile recyclers to make sure your old socks are recycled responsibly and efficiently. When you send your socks directly to one of their recycling partners, they undergo a grading process. The top-tier of socks will be cleaned up and sent to areas of need. The balance will either be repurposed as textile or shredded into fibers and turned into things like home insulation, depending on the condition.