A Stylist’s Sustainable Gift Guide

Published on 08 December 2020
by ASI Team
Category: Inspire

While it can be lovely to shower those we love with gifts, remember that your chosen gift may not end up as useful as you’d hoped! In 2018, it was found that an estimated $400 million was spent on over 10 million unwanted gifts! 

As an avid thrifter, I see where most of the unwanted gifts go. Shelves in op shops are filled with pamper packs and gag gifts. Racks are full of novelty: flashing ties, daggy slogan tees 2-sizes-too-small pyjamas. Baskets full of I-don’t-know-what-to-get-you sock sets and scented candles line the aisles.

To avoid the holiday season becoming the most wasteful time of the year, opt for better made gifts that are one of a kind and support local. Need a hand? I’ve put together a conscious gift guide below with links to all my favourite brands so you can shop straight from the blog!  


2020 has been an extreme year for all of Australia and beyond. Our local labels and brands here in Victoria have suffered a lot, with many being unable to sell their wares during the lockdown months. Luckily the government incentive Click for Vic, is helping us give our amazing local producers some love and support. Pulling together a whole range of local and rural businesses with everything from handcrafted gin, gourmet dine-in options, boxes of farm-fresh local produce and apparel from independent labels. 

As well as supporting local brands and creatives, we should also be supporting Aboriginal-owned businesses. These businesses not only support the craft of Aboriginal culture, but they are also influencing social change that promotes equality. 

Just a few of my favourites:

Clothing the Gap

sustainable gift guide clothing the gap


sustainable gift guide bundarra

Shop Homelands

Sustainable gift guide shop homelands

Blak Business Gift Guide 

sustainable gift guide blak business

‘Tis the season to give back

The holidays are often a time of charity, whether it is volunteering at a soup kitchen or donating to a charity such as the Vinnies Christmas Appeal. Helping our fellow humans (and animals too) gives us a warm glow

A Christmas card and poverty-fighting tool in one, CARE Australia’s CAREgifts give a helping hand to those in need. Select a gift (such as a bicycle for a healthcare worker) and you’ll receive a beautiful card to send to your chosen recipient and your donation will be sent to where it’s needed the most.

conscious gift guide CARE Australia

Edgar’s Mission’s ‘Best Buddy’ program enables you to sponsor some of the cutest rescue animals around. Such as Leon Trotsky, a piglet who had a customed wheelchair and Hansel the cow who was taken from his mother when he was a calf. The one-off-donation helps create a kinder world for farmed animals and is the perfect gift for any apartment dwelling animal lover.

For the Foodie

We all have that one friend who is an avid foodie, always wanting to try the latest restaurants or superfood. Help them out on their delicious quest by buying a voucher for their favourite restaurant or introduce them to new flavours with a cooking experience. Or maybe help them a little more sustainably for their everyday goods with a The Source Bulk Foods store gift voucher. 

As we continue to enjoy our weekend picnics here in Melbourne, why not throw your bestie a picnic celebration. Fill a cheese board, bring along some local wine and wear your best dress. Cheers to a new year!

My top favourite foodie gifts:

  1. A hamper full of native flavours from Mabu Mabu, a Torres Strait owned and run business
  2. A non-alcoholic option, Sobah beverages. Raising cultural awareness and promoting Aboriginal arts, language and history through the Sobah range.
  3. A stack of ethical chocolate from Hey Tiger, a premium, handmade chocolate brand and social enterprise.
  4. For the gin drinker, Four Pillars Gin handcrafted in the Yarra Valley

Four Pillars Gin Gift Guide

Leave the socks for Fathers Day

Considering that pyjamas, slippers, underwear and socks are among some of the least appreciated gifts, let’s step away from these and try some options that will actually be loved and worn.

How often has someone complained to you that they have nothing to wear (or maybe you have even said it a few times!) then this Glam Corner membership is the perfect gift. With a luxe box of 3 designer pieces a month (you can choose how long for), those words are sure to be never uttered again. 

For someone who wants to step away from the flow of fast fashion, help them along with a gift voucher to an ethical fashion store. My favourites are Well Made Clothes, Stride Store, The Fashion Advocate, Velvety and The Reform Store.

Or maybe they are a devoted thrifter, wow them with a gift card to their favourite local store or online store. A few of my top online picks are Mutual Muse, The Real Real, Vestiaire Collective and Mottainai.

Velvety Ethical

Connect with Australia again

After months of staying inside and not being able to visit our favourite getaway places, Stay in the Bush is encouraging us to get outside again. Listing local luxe BnBs, outback tents, boutique hotels and family farm stays to help us escape and drink up nature once again. While the gift of a bush escape is an ideal present for the one who is always on the go, I would personally gift this experience to myself! 

If you are searching for more of a luxury gift for those who like to experience all that the cities have to offer, why not present them with an NGV membership (or your local equivalent)? With exclusive members access to online learning, talks and events there is sure to be something for your event loving buddy.

Something for the movie connoisseur? Timeout has gathered a list of the best of Melbourne’s outdoor cinemas. Or let your loved ones enjoy a curated selection of food and drink while watching their favourite flick at Village Cinema’s Gold Class.

Outdoor movies Melbourne

Low waste gifts

If you have been watching your waste this year, why not conjure up some easy DIY gifts that require little to no effort and are basically plastic-free. I also like that these crafty DIY’s are ones that children can help out with. These gifts are also a great way to reconnect and catch up with friends, something I think we all need after this crazy year.

  • Write a poem, story or song
  • Create a boutique of flowers from your garden or nature strip
  • Invite your friend over for brunch or dinner
  • Hold a crafternoon where everyone brings their current project and a drink of their choice
  • Create some ‘one of a kind’ artwork with your children to use as wrapping paper or cards
  • Get baking and create some sweet treats

What about that person who has everything?

Toilet Paper! Okay, hear me out. How annoying is it go to the supermarket and have to lug home a bunch of toilet paper? (and let’s not even talk about the Australia wide shortage of March 2020!) A quirky gift and sure to make someone laugh is the doorstop delivery of 48 rolls (or more!) of plastic-free, sustainable toilet paper.
Who Gives A Crap is the toilet paper that builds toilets. This B Corp certified company that donates 50% of our profits to help build toilets and improve sanitation in the developing world.

sustainable gifts

While is best to #supportlocal these holidays, some of the best gifts can also be handmade or simply the gift of our time to show that we care. Let’s change the narrative of haphazard gifts, be more conscious with our choices these holidays and learn to show our love in other ways (that don’t end up in the op shop!)

Want more? Take a peep at what’s on the ASI Team’s 2020 Christmas Wish List as they #shoplocal and support Victorian based fashion retailers and creatives.


By Jenna Flood

ASI Sustainable Stylist


Jenna studied her Masters Certificate of Professional Styling with Australian Style Institute and is now a Personal and Editorial Stylist based in Melbourne. Interested in becoming a Fashion Stylist? Download your Free Course Guide here.


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