A strange phenomenon is occurring this holiday season: my Pandora is playing “Christmas Radio,” a selection I’ve made and haven’t changed. After running and hearing songs during A Christmas Carol, the last thing I want to hear is Christmas music, unless it’s the jazzy tunes from A Charlie Brown Christmas. Last year I recall telling my sister Ming that she would be proud of me for listening to Christmas music on Christmas Eve, a rare circumstance given the fact that my co-worker Alan and I remind the child actors we help with microphones and make-up to “Leave singing for the stage,” anytime a cacophony of tiny voices is heard outside the Wardrobe Room door. Perhaps this feeling is because I’ve seen more possibilities to assist artisans through my summer work with the social enterprise Run by Rural and my spirit is renewed. Are you feeling overwhelmed by crowded shopping malls and endless advertisements for sales flashing before your eyes? Then enliven your Christmas spirit by taking a look at some of my style inspirations from Christmas Colors featuring social enterprise and sustainable fashion companies that seek to improve the lives of artisans in marginalized and impoverished countries:
When hearing “White Christmas” by The Drifters, I can’t help but think of a white outfit with a few hints of neutral colors to enjoy the snow falling outside my bedroom window. This set begins with a white, flowing top from JUJUBE Ecological Apparel Design, a company who uses textiles of 100% eco-certified biodegradable textiles to fulfill their core values: Love the Earth, Love People, Love Originality, Love Quality. Paired with pants from New Zealand-based company Untouched World, who was awarded Sublime Magazine‘s 2014 award for Best Sustainable Brand. Stay warm in Vaute Couture‘s grey coat and hat and you’ll be warmed knowing founder Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart uses vegan and recyclable materials as well as producing locally. Finish your look with white vegan heels from Beyond Skin, a silver leaf necklace from Raven + Lily, and earrings and a clutch with a hint of mint and grey from Hearts, all companies dedicated to ethically sourcing materials and production methods.
Once Mannheim Steamroller‘s “Holly and Ivy” begins to play, I immediately think of red and green, complimentary colors typically reserved for Christmastime. It may seem to most people that these colors can only be festive holiday colors, but with my next set, you’ll see how they can be incorporated into a stylish and polished outfit. Get started by pairing a top with red embroidered floral and black pants from Maiyet, a luxury fashion company dedicated to reviving traditional techniques of craftsman and artisans from around the world. Layer on some warmth with a cardigan from U.K. company Braintree Clothing, stylish coat and hat from Vaute Couture, and a scarf from Passion Lilie, an organization who empowers artisans in India. Add some green with bracelets and a purse from Global Goods Partners, a social enterprise who works with over 40 partners that employ over 3,000 women in 20 countries from around the world. Complete your look with a pair of burgundy flats and earrings from Shop Ethica, a site that features products from companies who are environmentally and ethically responsible.
A song that reminds me of Christmas the most is John Denver‘s “Aspen Glow,” since his Christmas album was my dad’s favorite and we listened to it every Christmas Eve. Hearing this song I think of blue and silver glistening through the mountains covered with trees and begin this set with a coat and hat from U.K. company Deploy Workshop. Keep out the cold with a blue printed scarf from Global Goods Partners and stay fashionable with a vintage styled dress from Faire Jour, a company whose items are handmade in the USA, Canada, and Europe with eco-friendly materials. Pull all of your shades of blue and silver together with these earrings from Mata Traders, who just won Green America’s People & Planet Award.
As it turns out, there is hope for Christmas being a time of more than advertisements, markdowns, and material goods. It can be a time where we think of assisting others and sourcing materials that are friendly to the environment we live in. I would like to think that as I listen to “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” can evoke feelings we continue to have throughout the year. Perhaps with a little perspective we can spend time thanking those we love, supporting the future success of those we work with, and with a little Christmas spirit, we can learn from Scrooge that by aiding those who need and appreciate our assistance, we celebrate our humanity, our love for each other, and the love for ourselves. There isn’t a better Christmas present than that.