A vast array of sustainable Christmas gifts is being showcased at Gifted, the Contemporary Craft and Design Fair, in Dublin.
The five-day event got under way yesterday at the RDS, with more than 400 designers, makers and artisan food producers displaying their wares.
They include a number of sustainable fashion and beauty brands aimed at customers who are increasingly interested in making smart and ethical gift choices.
We spoke to three Irish designers about their sustainable approach to business.
MJ Jacob, an artist and designer who lives on a sailboat in Co Waterford, has brought her ‘Mad Jessie’ designs to the fair.
“Everything I make, I am to make it as sustainably as possible,” she said. “All of it is made here in Ireland and some of it has messaging in regards to climate change and rising tides.”
Woolen hats are one of Ms Jacob’s biggest products, with one style in particular “very special” to her.
“It’s made out of waste wool that would otherwise not be used, leftover from other designs. Each stripe on the hat represents a decade of rising tides. It’s a fun hat but it also has an important message, I think.”
Ms Jacob says her sustainable approach is “an ongoing journey, I’m always trying to get better” and one of her most recent changes was to switch the fabric she uses to make her tube scarves to a fabric made from recycled plastic.
Zoë Daly’s knitwear brand Ériu aims to breathe new life into the Irish wool industry by setting up “farm to yarn networks”. The business collects sheep fleeces from farmers, which are then processed into yarn and used to create a selection of knitted items.
“Wool is an incredible fibre, we believe its the answer to so much of the fast fashion problems,” she said. “It’s naturally circular – it comes from the earth, from the animals, it sequesters carbon when it’s out, then you can put it back in the earth, farmers are constantly using it as compost or bedding because they don’t know what else to do with it.”
Ms Daly is hopeful their work will help to “rescue Ireland’s once-thriving wool industry”.
Ríon Hannora says she has a zero-waste policy in her design studio where “every single piece is always used.”
This approach has led her to create a new type of accessory – “scrap babies”.
Ms Hannora has a range of “scrap babies” that can attach to her larger garments or onto her customers’ handbags.
“I’m always trying to use everything I have, instead of always buying new. Then for the fabrics themselves, a lot of my pieces would be unbleached, raw cotton.”
Gifted runs in the RDS until 10 December.