As the winter weather continues to warrant appropriate outerwear, many fashion enthusiasts feel the need to add some color to their wardrobe with festive and unique accessories like watches, handbags, and jewelry. However, an international study by Unilever revealed that one-third of consumers are now buying from brands based on their social and environmental impact. If you want to feel fab and glamorous while keeping sustainability in mind, we’ve got you covered. Here’s a quick guide to buying eco-friendly accessories to help you feel fabulous for the rest of the cold-weather season.
If you’re interested in investing in an eco-friendly wristwatch or an elegant piece of jewelry, one major rule of thumb is to avoid buying real diamonds, since they almost always come from questionable sources.
“They’re notoriously hard NOT to trace back to war and death,” writes Diane Small in Eluxe Magazine.
There’s also a difference between Fairmined and conventionally mined metals, so it’s important to do your research before visiting an accessory outlet. A “gold-plated” watch, for example, has a coating of a gold alloy over a base metal by either electro-depositing and/or a chemical process. Recommended minimum thickness should be 10 microns thick, but again, make sure to pay attention to mining methods. And of course, solar powered watches are always a better option than those that require batteries. But overall, the market for sustainable timepieces remains in high demand.
“Sustainability adds emotional capital to the value of a watch and is in greater demand now than ever before,” writes Smalls.
When it comes to handbags, organic and recycled materials are key. Organic cotton, for example, is washable, reusable, and durable. Cotton is also biodegradable, meaning that it won’t just end up in a landfill. Organic fibers beat synthetic materials every time.
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Similarly, recycled materials help to limit the production of new fabrics, natural and synthetic alike. This, in turn, helps to limit the pollution caused by these manufacturing processes. But most importantly, using recycled materials essentially gives those materials a second chance at functionality and usefulness.
If you’re looking for an exceptionally eccentric design, Overstock has several quirky suggestions. First, they cite coffee and rice bags, which are typically woven from strong fibers such as hemp and jute. These bags can easily be recycled to provide an ‘eco-chic’ handbag that lasts for years to come.
Arguably most interesting, however, is Overstock’s idea for using foil candy wrappers:
“Recycled foil candy wrappers make a unique material for handbags; these eco-friendly bags use recycled wrappers that are interwoven to lend a distinctive look.”
Finally, it’s important to keep location in mind for any type of apparel or accessory shopping. U.S. e-commerce revenue is about $423.3 billion and is steadily climbing, and while e-commerce has certainly become an indispensable component of our consumer habits, prioritizing companies that locally source their materials is a highly sustainable choice.
Ultimately, using these ideas as guidelines can help your winter accessory shopping be as enjoyable and sustainable as possible. Don’t ever hesitate to inquire with a particular business about their eco-friendly procedures and practices before making your final purchasing decisions — every step is another toward a more sustainable future!