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12 Conscious Gift Ideas for the Fashion Lover in Your Life

Holiday shopping for the fashion-obsessed loved ones on your list is a seemingly easy task. Clothes, accessories, shoes — these items are virtually everywhere, with unlimited options, practically guaranteeing you'll find the perfect gift. However, there's more to clothes than the material they're made from; how they're made, who's making them, and how those employees are treated in the workplace matter more than a designer label. So rather than tossing any cozy-looking sweater in your cart, you might want to consider conscious gift ideas for the fashion lover in your life — especially if their values lie in sustainability.

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So how can you tell if the clothes you intend to buy are consciously made? It's as simple as a quick Internet search, but it's also beneficial for you to educate yourself on the difference between conscious (re: sustainable) clothing versus fast fashion. That way, the next time you want to make a purchase for yourself, you can decide for yourself which aligns with your beliefs.

According to former editor at Vogue and The Economist, Mary Fellowes, CEO and founder of sustainable fashion consultancy GreenWith Studio, fast-fashion is lower-priced apparel and accessories shops. The reason they're so affordable?

"Someone else, located somewhere else, has paid the real cost. In short, the planet and its people," Fellowes tells InStyle.

"A $5 t-shirt, for example, comprises the following: cotton is grown, watered, harvested, spun into yarn somewhere else, transported to be woven into fabric, dyed elsewhere, cut & stitched elsewhere, maybe embellished at another facility. Sent to a warehouse, dispatched, sent to the shop floor," Fellowes continues. Yet, all this amount of labour and processing adds up to one shirt costing about as much as a Starbucks coffee.

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On the other side of the industry is conscious, sustainable fashion, which, Fellowes says, is clothing made responsibly and ethically, toward the people and the planet. "[The brands aren't] using precious raw materials unnecessarily, not ruining the earth from which the fibres were grown, not exploiting cheap labour for workers who are often in conditions that would be considered forced or slave labour in the global north," she continues. "Sustainable fashion has kindness woven into its seams. It empowers rather than abuses."

Bottom line: Conscious fashion is clothing rooted in empathy, with ethical and sustainable roots. Investing in conscious fashion is an investment in the planet, so if you're shopping for gifts you can feel good about gifting the fashion lover on your list, here are a few items from brands who meet this criteria.

RELATED: Want a Truly Sustainable Fashion Industry? Look to Couture

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