Christmas is a time for giving.
This week I got the happy news that a little team of Welly elves, including myself, Craigy Lee from Union Tattoo and The Workshop Picture Framing were able to raise almost one thousand dollars to give to DCM (Downtown Community Ministry) thanks to your generosity. This will really help Wellingtonian's who aren't as fortunate as we are at Christmas time. YOU ARE ALL AMAZING!
However, I also believe in giving closer to home. Last year I challenged myself to buy only Wellington Christmas presents for family. Because I had to keep it a secret, I wasn't able to share it until the new year (you don't want people finding out their presents before Christmas morning, now do you?).
So this year, I am going a bit more open in the hope of giving you a few ideas for others or yourselves. Here I've collected together some cool brands, some who I've been following for a while, that I think are doing some great gifts, whether they be for yourself or as presents for others. AND GUESS WHAT! THEY'RE ALL WELLINGTON BRANDS *do a little dance, make a little love, get down tonight!*
Let me know what you think? Do you like them? What will you be giving your family this Christmas?
1. The Perfect Holiday Season Dress - Bones Style Club, Raumati, Wellington
Recently, I discovered this AH - MAH - ZING Wellington brand. I am SERIOUSLY in LOVE with it, and can't wait to snap up their whole collection. Bones Style Club are 100% fair trade organic cotton basics, made and designed in Wellington (I KNOW RIGHT!). This dress is the ideal dress for the Christmas period, where you are eating often and a pair of jeans seems like your worst nightmare. It's the perfect silly season solution as it is light and very summery, yet also classic enough that you can wear it in many different ways - dress it up, or dress it down.
The dress here is one of their basics - the Summer Ribb Dress - and it is made from the softest organic grey marl cotton. It feels like a long Pyjama top - it is THAT comfortable. There are multiple ways you can tie it, but here I just went for a simple bow. I also love that they do a range of different styles of tee shirts, and some for the men out there (woop)! I will be rocking this all Summer long.
Charlotte and Tessa, the Raumati based owners, are as serious about values as they are about style. Why organic cotton? Is this some kind of fad? [Warning - rant coming up. If you are not interested in the environment or social agricultural costs, skip to the para below this one. Thanks].
You might not know but the pesticides used to spray cotton when it is grown will stay on that cotton when it becomes the fabric. This is not good for us, as our skin is the largest organ in our body (#science). But you know what is worse? It's a lose-lose for the people growing or harvest the cotton (who end up as part of the process of making the clothes). These folk are exposed to harsh chemicals sold to them promising to held yield crop. Farmers end up in a cycle where they have to keep buying chemicals and are held to ransom by huge companies as the sprays end up being less and less effective (why hello there Monsanto).
Pesticides are heavily linked with cancer over prolonged periods of time (again, thinking less about myself and more about the farmers - because cancer sucks). Buying organic cotton helps support a small but important change in our social structure. Each piece is made from fabric that is hand-picked from local stores and garments are made to order to suit the specific needs of every person that orders. If you buy organic, you vote with your wallet for a better go for everyone involved.
Some people might think that you could find something similar somewhere on the high street. If that's your thought, that's cool. But this dress is made to last and is one I'll be pulling out year after year. Bones Style Club is about investing in quality - go check them out! You know it's good for your local business community because it's locally made. It's good for the people who make clothes. So all up, good for you! Now where's the turkey...
2. My Meniscus Leather Tote in Whiskey - Meniscus Leather, Island Bay
In the new year, I plan on having a wee crack at the 'What's in my handbag?' schtick. In the meantime, I couldn't wait but show you this stunning bag which was very kindly gifted to me by a great local brand 'Meniscus Leather', based in Island Bay. It is a firm brown leather with a solid strap. The shade is 'Whiskey' and it has a lovely tannin smell as a statement of its quality. The bag is the perfect size for my 16 inch Macbook Air and isn't cluttered by unnecessary pockets. It is not lined, which I don't mind, and it really goes with everything I already have. This is a great bag for work or the beach. I love that these guys keep a clean design voice, nailing uncomplicated design. I get the feeling the more it gets bumped around, the lovelier it will become.
Meniscus was started by a pair of human's working in the film industry in Wellington on a little film called 'The Lord of the Rings'. Owners Ben Price and Laki Laban founded Meniscus Enterprises in 2010. They were childhood friends growing up in North Dunedin. Wanting to hone their skills learnt while working for Weta Workshop, they started focusing on leather and taking on costume, prop and armour elements for film and TV.
As we all know, the Film Industry in New Zealand is a cruel mistress. It’s feast or famine and between the big projects they slowly they started building up their Meniscus Leather Goods range of accessories in the down time. Emily Ireland became part of the business in 2014, bringing with her kick-ass babe knowledge about sourcing premium leathers and fabrics. Now, 6 years on, Meniscus Leather Goods is a solid collection, stocked in select stores throughout New Zealand and available online through their website.
3. Bootleggers Soda and Flight Coffee Soda - Te Aro, Wellington
This Wellington present is a mean little gift. It sounds weird but actually is delicious. Flight Coffee teamed up with Bootleggers Soda, co-founded by James Waugh, in the hope of making the perfect blend of delicious soda and coffee. By jove they're got it!
This is a creamy, bubbly treat that oddly reminds me of a mix of coke and creaming soda with just a hint of bitterness. I've enjoyed Flight Coffee for years and they certainly have the rep as the cool kid on the coffee block in Wellington - so this would be perfect for the hipster in your life, or anyone who likes an interesting drop!
Bootleggers Soda x Flight Coffee soda is a great wee stocking filler for a loved one, who will appreciate something cold over the barbie. I suspect these will be delicious with rum and ice on a hot day, under the pohutukawa. However you decide to serve it, this caramelly bubbly fizz will knock your kiwi socks off.
4. Leather Tassel Earrings - Droplet, Wellington
Droplet is a cute little local label I recently discovered. Started by Hortense Rothery, these are little gems you will love dangling on the Christmas tree, or on your ears. I am wearing the bottle blue pair, but I really want the whole collection! And who could blame a gal?
I love tassel earrings because I always think they elongate my neck (rather flattering). These are so fun - they have a bit of the Shanghai nightclub to them. Everything is upcycled leather, cut to precision by Hortense. She also does these rather hilariously named 'Slutty leather crop tops' which she does to order. SERIOUSLY AMAZING.
Hortense was working for a major Wellington fashion label and when her contract ended, she decided to go it alone. Droplet is a brand that is all about having fun and going for it. The website also charmingly gives background on how Hortense has been completely backed by her mum and friends, which I think is something we can all relate to.
These earrings will make you feel ten foot tall and add a touch of glamour to any look. Her Instagram is super cute as well. Droplet is the perfect gift for a cool friend or older sister who has sass for miles or a very edgy mum. The style is timeless and I love that Hortense is killing it, going for the dream. This Christmas, skip the flashing plastic novelty earrings and go for something a little more up-market - Wellington's Droplet.
5. Oil Cleanser - Margaret Hema Skincare, Wellington
If I could only pick one product of 2016 from Wellington that has changed my life, this would be it. The oil cleanser from Margaret Hema Skincare. Is it expensive? YES - Margaret Hema skincare is a bit pricier than your average department store brand. But her products are incredible and really DO work. Margaret was doing organic skincare before anyone else, and while her products won't give you all kinds of scientific gobblygook, they will seriously improve your skin for the better.
I feel incredibly privileged that Margaret Hema has believed in The Residents and has been a big supporter. Equally, I am in awe of these products. They are so hydrating and just amazing for the Wellington weather where it can be harsh and then sunny, all in one day. I love the cleaner because on the days I am busy and in a rush, I can just cleanse in the morning and then again at night to take off all my makeup. With a warm cloth, it leaves my skin hydrated and healed, never stripped.
The cleanser is great if you are thinking about buying Margaret's products but are unsure where to start. It will give you the perfect flavour of her methods. Simple, hydrating, wise. Again, you're supporting someone who has been quietly perfecting her work, while still staying in Wellington and not selling out over 40 years. Margaret is up there with the likes of the best in the world. This is a present to give to your best girlfriend, your mother or even your father who wants to take better care of themselves. Make sure you watch my Instagram & Facebook this week because I will be giving away a whole full sized bottle of this product tomorrrow.
I hope you enjoy this list of things you can find, made in Wellington for Christmas. I enjoyed collating it. Until then... Merry Christmas! Also, a heads up that I will be posting blogs as usual this week and then taking a little time off over Christmas, back again online on 9 January 2017. Thank you SO MUCH for supporting this blog in 2016 and reading and following. If you haven't yet subscribed, make sure you do so now! Thank you again for being a Residents of Wellington.