For many of us, the holidays will look a little different this year. There may be no big family gatherings to plan, or office parties to go to. We probably won’t be holidaying anywhere exotic. We may also be spending less.
In what has been a long, difficult and divisive year, luxury has taken on new meaning. Disposable income is more precious; elegance must now contend with comfort. And with Millennial and Gen Z consumers accounting for a growing proportion of spending, the luxury market is increasingly sensitive to the social and environmental causes they identify with.
The appeal of sustainable, handmade and organic products is, by now, a given. But 2020 has thrown a new ethical consideration into the mix: racial justice. Online directory Yelp found that, over six weeks in the summer, searches for Black-owned boutiques were up by 331% compared to the same period in 2019.
With all this in mind, here are CNN Style’s best small luxuries for the conscientious gift giver:
1) ‘Weekday Ritual’ set by Redoux NYC
Black-owned Redoux NYC is a vegan skincare line of nourishing serums, balms and soap bars (and candles, too), with scents that change seasonally.
Inspired by art, cultural history, nature and founder Asia Grant’s own memories, each fragrance transports you to another place entirely, offering some much-needed escapism. The skincare items are all gender-inclusive, handmade in small batches in New York City and wrapped in slick, minimalist packaging.
For those in need of a mood lift, the “Weekday Ritual” set ($57) could be an especially thoughtful gift. The bundle comprises two turmeric botanical bars and one of Redoux NYC’s signature “529” candles, featuring sandalwood, orange blossom, ginger, amber and saffron.
2) Relief Edition apron by Bragard and Polonsky & Friends
With many of us firmly on the way of becoming pro home chefs, the Relief Edition apron ($39.95) is an especially fitting gift this year. What’s more, all of the profits are being donated to the Restaurant Employee Relief Fund to help chefs and restaurant workers experiencing hardship across America as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
A collaboration between creative consultancy Polonsky & Friends and the US branch of French culinary clothing brand Bragard, the design features a dove inspired by one of Picasso’s Dove drawings.
3) Waffle maker by Ghetto Gastro x Crux
South Bronx collective Ghetto Gastro and cookware company Crux gave us the hippest culinary collaboration of the year when they launched CRUXGG, a new line of kitchen appliances. Our favorite, the waffle maker ($149.95), can crank out eight Belgian-style waffles in 10 minutes.
The product range is not only sleek in design but also socially engaged: When it launched in fall, proceeds were donated to Colin Kaepernick’s Know Your Rights Camp, which works to empower the next generation of Black and Brown leaders. That partnership is now over, but Ghetto Gastro continues to fight racism, engage communities and advance social justice through good food and creative cooking.
4) A crochet market bag from Gem
Covid-19 vaccines may be on the horizon but, for now, going out to buy groceries could still be the highlight of your day. For a chic, modish iteration of the classic shopping tote, try finding something crocheted via Gem, a new search engine for vintage and secondhand fashion.
The site works like Lyst, but for retro clothes and accessories. It is a treasure trove of pre-loved goods at pleasingly affordable prices.