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You Should Be Shopping These Brands This Holiday Season

It’s time for a greener holiday season.

We love to travel and we love to shop but, sometimes, the two don’t go hand in hand. Fashion contributes to 10% of the world’s carbon emissions and Amazon alone, in 2018, emitted 44 million (yes, million) metric tons of CO2. As explorers who venture out to the farthest reaches of the world, we have an important role to play in the future of this very Earth.

While there will always be a place for fast-fashion and Amazon given their accessibility, veering away from the world of mass-production is an important step we as travelers can take to preserving the world we love to explore. With the holidays approaching and gift-buying on the mind, shopping ethically is the new task on every traveler’s to-do list—but changing our shopping habits shouldn’t be daunting, so we’re here to help. From the best products to our favorite brands, we’re making a sustainable holiday season as easy as click and add to cart.

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PHOTO: Courtesy of Parks Project
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Parks Project

After months of turning towards our National Parks for a moment of solace and time away from home, the holiday season is the perfect moment to help those favorite destinations out. Parks Projects partners with organizations around the country to fund projects that help educate, inform, and engage the public in park conservation—your help comes in with a little shopping. Funds from every purchase go toward conservation efforts at National Parks, but take it a sustainable step further by shopping their upcycled collection. Grab a loved one (or even yourself) a tote or fanny pack made from recycled puffers to recycled denim.

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PHOTO: Courtesy of LOLA
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Recycled Activewear

Girlfriend Collective started small as an option for sustainable shoppers looking to lower their carbon impact through recycled leggings, but has slowly become a cult favorite as every-day, every-body activewear. The slow-fashion brand makes customer favorite bras, leggings, bike shorts, and more out of the unexpected: trash. The company turns water bottles, fishing nets, and other waste into activewear that’s not just stylish, but oh-so buttery (we’re talking leggings you won’t want to take off). If you’re looking to gift the perfect WFH sweatsuit, Girlfriend Collective recently released one of their own in perfect earth-tone hues, great from the couch or against the backdrop of their next hike.

And for those who prefer workout gear that can take them from deadlifts to marathon training—we’re talking compressive and non-slip—the recently-launched LOLA is a great option. LOLA, created by Alma Adrović who designed the Lululemon favorite Wunder Under, makes non-pill leggings out of sustainable, regenerated nylon fabric. Bonus: the packaging is also recyclable!

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PHOTO: Courtesy of Keeper
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Safe, Simple, and Sustainable Soap

We know soap isn’t the typical holiday gift but, lest you need a reminder, this isn’t a typical year. This is one where we’re meticulously washing our hands to the Happy Birthday song, rinsing, and then repeating. Keeper soap is both stylish (soap, stylish? Yes.) and sustainable. The soap itself is plant-based while the containers are made of glass and aluminum. The starter kit comes with both a bottle and soap, and, once your loved ones have fallen head over heels for everything from the scent to the feel to the ethics, they can purchase refills for their already perfectly good bottle!

PHOTO: Joyce Godsey/Shutterstock
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Your Quilt Reimagined

With Psychic Outlaw, the quilt you once saw as dated (but couldn’t toss for sentimental reasons) can now be reimagined. This Austin-based company takes your old quilts and turns them into something a little more practical, creating stunning quilted jackets, sweatshirts, and more. Maybe your daughter is heading off to college next fall and you’re looking for the perfect gift that allows her to take a piece of home with her, or maybe you’ve got a quilt pattern that you’d like to turn into the perfect statement piece—either way, the team at Psychic Outlaw is there to make that vision come true. By supplying your own quilt or picking from their collection of consigned quilts, you’re contributing to slow, recycled fashion (and helping a small business along the way!).

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PHOTO: Courtesy of Harvest & Mill
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Socks for Sustainability

The classic stocking stuffer: socks. This year, skip the cheap fuzzies for a pair made from organic cotton and natural dyes, grown and sewn in the U.S. Harvest & Mill doesn’t just create ethically-sourced and made socks (they’ve gone 100% carbon neutral), but ones that will go with just about any outfit—sorry, reindeer socks, but you won’t cut it past December 25. Grab a pack and give everyone in your family a pair—sure, you’ll be the relative that gave out socks, but you’ll also be the relative that helped save the Earth.

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PHOTO: Courtesy of Patagonia
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Winter Coats and Camping Gear

Isn’t it nice to learn that a favorite brand is taking the steps toward environmental and social responsibility? With a mission toward being carbon neutral by 2025, producing materials that are 68% recycled, and having 66,000 workers supported by the Fair Trade Program, it’s hard not to fall in love with the California-based brand Patagonia. For the cold winters of the northeast, there’s the fan-favorite parka—with a 100% recycled polyester shell and down—and for climates that tend to stay a bit more mild, there’s the Nano Puff Jacket (made with more recycled materials!).

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PHOTO: Courtesy of Fly By Night NYC
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Upcycled Accessories

Each piece created by the team at Fly By Night has a unique life, with their fabric being vintage, deadstock designer, and some even from movie sets—maybe your collar once went through the hands of an NYC designer or perhaps shared the screen with your favorite actor. At Fly By Night, the team works to create pieces made from that rescued fabric, allowing its design (and often size) to help determine the final look. From statement headbands to collars to blouses to masks, this NYC-based shop will have you feeling, in their words, like a “Quarantine Queen”—sustainably, of course.

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Sneakers That Do Good (and Look Good)

VEJA is a French sneaker brand that, not to overstate it, makes the perfect sneaker—they’re versatile, sleek, and, simply put, cool. But not only do they look good, the company does good, holding itself accountable for sustainable and ethical practices through transparency. With simple but cool designs, these kicks are perfect for anyone of any age with just about any style.

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PHOTO: Courtesy of SΛM & LΛNCE
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A Sustainable Subscription Box

There’s something wonderful about gifting a subscription box for the holidays. Not only do they make shopping easier, with someone else picking the perfect products for you, but they also mean the giving season doesn’t stop in December. For those who prefer the subscription box route, Sam & Lance offers two options—classic and exclusive—that deliver sustainable, female-made products four times a year. That means someone special gets to have a sustainable winter, spring, summer, and fall all thanks to a few clicks on your part and Sam & Lance’s team of sustainability-focused shoppers.