If you still have Christmas presents left to buy and fancy giving something that creates social good, then here are our top five suggested buys and the brands behind them.
1. Handmade pants (by Who made your pants?)
Purpose: Highlighting the connection between the producer and the product, and creating jobs for refugee women.
As the name suggests, this women-led cooperative based in Southampton make pants. Not just any pants, but beautiful, lacy, comfortable, high-quality handmade pants.
Made from offcuts sold on by the lingerie industry at the end of the season, these pants also provide jobs for women fleeing from conflict who may otherwise struggle to find employment.
What’s the best part? Using their website and the number in the label on each item, you can find out exactly who made your pants.
2. Fair Trade Palestinian Olive Oil (by Zaytoun)
Purpose: Providing an income to farmers in Palestine who have difficultly accessing export markets.
In 2009, Zaytoun launched the world’s first ever fair trade oil, and its still going strong today. The Community Interest Company was founded to support Palestinian farmers who had lost their olive oil export markets since the Intifada, and is based on the belief that the best products are those that arise from a deep connection of a people to their land.
Their organic Fairtrade olive oil has been sourced through Canaan Fair Trade in Jenin, pressed from the fruit of trees dating back 2000 years which have been tended by hand through generations of family farmers.
Sadly they don’t do online sales, but with stockists all around the UK (including most Oxfam shops) there’s plenty of time to pick up a bottle before Christmas!
3. Classic Panama Hat (by Pachacuti)
Purpose: Preserving traditional skills and cultural expression in Equador for future generations.
Pachacuti works with rural communities in Equador to help perserve and encourage traditional hat weaving skills, pays 60% to 120% more in wages than other buyers, and provides training in design development, self-esteem, health and safety and basic business skills. This month UNESCO awarded the art of weaving a Panama hat to their list of Intangible Cultural Heritage.
Although the Panama hats on offer lend themselves more to summer than a British winter, they are all 12% off with free shipping until the 21st December, so now is a good time to pick one up and be prepared! This narrow brim hat in Ivory is not exactly cheap at £41.80, but it is a timeless classic. If you’d rather something a little warmer, Pachacuti’s 100% wool wine hat is the nicest hat we’ve seen all winter.
Did we mention that all their hats are certified by the World Fair Trade Organisation too?
4. Leonora Silk Scarf (by NV London Calcutta)
Purpose: Supporting female entrepreneurship and job creation in West Bengal.
This scarf is absolutely going on our Christmas lists.
LV London Calcutta source their items from a non-profit women’s cooperative in West Bengal. Every woman in the quality control team was chosen due to skill and also due to being the only bread winner in the family; many are widowed and support the entire extended family single handedly.
The zebra print silk scarf featured below is made from 100% silk hand spun by residents of Murshidabad, and is an absolute bargain at £25. It also comes in brown and blue. Don’t forget to check out their gallery of pictures showing how it’s made.
Their range of handbags, silks and leathers for both men and women come with free standard delivery, and a final Christmas posting date for next day delivery of 21st December.
5. Rustam and Damir’s hand painted plate (by Made & Told)
Purpose: Supporting traditional skills and crafts and providing jobs in a country with high unemployment
This Rishtan plate is made from a distinct red clay, and hand painted with designs only found in Central Asia. 50% of yearly profits from its sales go towards artisan development and income generation activities in the region. Each plate is completely unique.
Rustam Usmanov is one of Uzbekistan’s most prized ceramic artisans. Through training his son and local apprentices in traditional skills and techinques almost lost due to industrial manufacturing during the Soviet Union, he is part of a movement rebirthing centuries-old crafts in Central Asia.
The final ordering date for guaranteed delivery before Christmas for the £15 Rishtan plate is the 20th December.