Have a conscientious Christmas by supporting independent artists, designers and makers who are using their creativity for the power of good!
Each year, we spend weeks searching for the perfect gift to give to those closest to us in a bid to show them we care. As well as burning a hole in our wallets, Christmas consumerism accounts for 74,000 tonnes of packaging waste each year – not to mention excess food waste and an accumulation of unwanted gifts.
To remedy this onslaught, two significant projects in London are using innovation to make positive change from Pentagram’s Do The Green Thing campaign to the arrival of the Choose Love pop-up shop, with all proceeds going to Help Refugees. This festive season, we’re highlighting a few of our favourite independent makers closer to home, who are consciously using their craft to produce ethical, sustainable and socially engaged products that won’t break the bank.
Amy Lou is a beauty and holistic therapist who specialises in a range of natural skincare that is handcrafted in Stoneybatter, Dublin 7. From the Avocado & Macadamia Moisture Mask to the Organic Rose Hip Oil, each product is lovingly produced with simple and minimal packaging. Available at the Dublin Flea Christmas Market.
Since the late 1990s, beekeepers throughout the world started to observe a decline in honeybee colonies due to industrial agriculture, parasites and climate change. Desireireland have created an initiative to connect the Dublin 7 community with bee pollination and have created a beautiful artisan soap to support the project, made from honey, propolis, bee pollen and Shea butter. Available at Bí Urban, Stoneybatter.
Meanwhile in Connemara, White Witch are busy creating organic and ethical beauty products with biodegradable packaging and a full certification from the Vegan Society. Their extensive selection of face masks, moisturisers and balms are entirely BPA free, made from a host of organic spices and plants including Irish Sandalwood and Moroccan Green Tea. Stocked throughout Europe.
Irish Accessory Designer of the Year and former ATF speaker, Wild Cocoon is the product of NCAD graduate, Deirdre Duffy. Each piece “cocoons” the wearer in 100% lambswool infused with natural qualities that can be enjoyed everyday to protect against the volatility of the Irish seasons. Available at Cleo, Kildare Street.
Former DJ turned designer, Jenny Huston, presents a portfolio of accessories and fine jewellery borne from her experience growing up as the daughter of a gemologist. Jenny yearned to pair her casual lifestyle with her fine upbringing and so began Edge Only. Each piece is ethically produced using quality craftsmanship. Available at Frost in the Fumbally Exchange.
Snuggle up to one of Liadain Aiken’s bespoke hats, scarves, gloves and knitwear – each hand-crafted in Donegal using traditionally spun Merino yarn. Liadian’s remit is simple; “It’s cherish for life, not wear and discard”. Available in Scout, Essex Street.
It’s cherish for life, not wear and discard
One of our favourites – The Tweed Project is a marriage between Aoibheann McNamara and Triona Lillis. The team have paired contemporary minimalism with traditional Irish fabrics that are hand-crafted in the West of Ireland. Explore the collection at Coffeewerk + Press, Galway.
Kasia Eska-Grajek is the brains behind Be or Knot to Be, creating one of a kind statement necklaces using recycled fabric and chunky t-shirt yarns that are hand crocheted. Kasia’s pieces are bold, bright and vibrant providing the perfect pop of colour for winter dark winter nights. Find Be or Knot to Be in Frost at the Fumbally Exchange.
Keem are champions of the slow movement, focused on sustainable and fair-trade fashion with a lengthy lifespan. Led by Denise Thomas, a former intern of past ATF speaker Alison Conneely, Keem create gender neutral, carbon friendly attire with a 100% organic cotton certification. Find them in Só Collective at Kildare Village.
Worn by Florence Welch and featured in Vogue, Alice Halliday is eponymous for designing bespoke bridal couture and event wear including capes, veils and headpieces adorned with lace, sequins and crystals. Each piece is stitched by hand using vintage, antique and sustainably sourced materials. Find one of Alice’s gorgeous creations at the Alice Halliday Pop-Up Sale at Liberty & Jasmine in Skibereen, Co. Cork.
The founder of We Are Islanders, Rosie O’Reilly, is a trailblazer of the Irish fashion movement heralded for her work as a designer but also as the tour de force behind Re-dress, a better fashion initiative aimed at improving human rights conditions and production quality in the industry. Available at Atrium in the Powerscourt Shopping Centre.
31 Chapel Lane is an Irish clothing label and manufacturing studio, founded by Joi and Damien Hannigan. Inspired by Damien’s practice as an architect, the duo specialise in the production of Irish linen with great emphasis on traditional tailoring techniques. Each garment is ethically crafted with a focus on longevity and artisanship. Available online at 31chapellane.com.
We are huge advocates of female empowerment at ATF HQ, so we were thrilled when Natalie B Coleman teamed up with Plan for their Because I am a Girl campaign. Purchase one of Natalie’s “Support Your Local Girl Gang” tees or jumpers and €5 from each sale will contribute towards raising funds and awareness for the rights of girls all over the world. Available at Atrium, Dublin.
Lifestyle & Design
Established in Co. Kildare in 2014, Candella is a unique, eco-friendly candle company specialising in natural and homemade scents. Each candle is up-cycled using disused wine bottles and the highest quality pure soya wax, wooden wicks, lead free cotton and skin safe fragrances that are blended with pure essential oils. Find them at Arnotts on Henry Street.
The Pear in a Paper launched on the Donegal coast in 2015. Having started out with a background in environmental management, the founder of Pear in a Paper, Lynn Costello Erskine, felt passionate about creating goods in an eco-friendly way with absolutely no trace of plastic. The Pear in a Paper is stocked in Article, Dublin.
Husband and wife duo, Laura and Adam paired their expertise in barbering by launching the Belfast Beard Company. Situated in the North of Ireland, BBC ensures that everything is tested to meet the highest EU standards and are 100% natural. Find them at The WickerMan, Belfast.
This sale is now over, but we thought Steve McCarthy warranted a mention for this recent #SteveIWantThis sale in support of the Jocelyn Blake Cancer Fund and Suicide or Survive. All prints were auctioned off for a very affordable fee of €20 and Steve accumulated almost €3000 to support two incredibly noteworthy causes.
Having graduated from the Paint department at the Chelsea College of Art in 2005, Matt Jones has become a revered wood turner, producing intricate wooden-wear for home and interiors. Matt uses ethically sourced Irish wood from fallen beech, walnut, ash and oak trees to create a collection of handmade salad bowls, salt mills, pepper grinders, commissioned items and sculptural art pieces. Visit Matt’s studio by appointment in Riverstown, Co. Sligo.
Taking inspiration from the swell of the Wild Atlantic and the assemblage of constellations in the dark night sky, Erin McClure, invigorates up-cycled and bespoke fabrics to create sustainable and earth friendly textiles for the home. Find Erin’s Constellation aprons, cushions and handkerchiefs at the Dublin Christmas Flea Market.
White & Green pride themselves on being “Pure, Chemical-Free, Fair”. The company is run by a triad of sisters and their mum who are passionate about creating quality goods with an ethical foot-print. The entire range is created using hand picked organic cotton from India with a 100% fair-trade certification. Find them at Beds of a Feather, Newtownmountkennedy.