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Happy Christmas Jumper Day

They can be fun, seasonal gifts for family, and bring festive cheer to Christmas parties and every year lots of money is raised for Save the Children on Christmas Jumper Day 7 December. But most of these jumpers are only worn a handful of times (if they're lucky). And there’s something UK fashion brands fail to mention...

Discussions around waste at Christmas often focus on the wrapping paper, because it is usually single use; every Christmas in the UK we use enough to stretch to the moon.

But often we treat clothing, like Christmas jumpers, as equally disposable – flinging them straight into the textiles recycling bin. Or they will join the 350,000 tonnes of wearable clothing already going to landfill every year in the UK. Even if it's given to a charity shop, your jumper could still end up in Ghana as part of the bundles bought unseen by traders on the Kantamanto market where they will find it can't be sold (who wants a Christmas jumper when it's 28 degrees?)

Worse still, 95% of Christmas jumpers are partially or wholly made of plastic. Polyester can take up to 200 years to degrade - so that jumper will probably last longer than you will. Plastic clothing is clogging up the coast at Accra and damaging wildlife like turtles as well as choking the local fishing trade.

Global clothing production for UK brands is incredibly exploitative and wasteful, and Christmas jumpers are just one small part of that. But thankfully environmental destruction is far from your only option for gifting this year.

You could choose a pre-loved Christmas jumper from eBay, Vinted or a charity shop. Or you could get creative and make your own - knitting and crochet are great hobbies and there are lots of patterns available free online from places like Ravelry.

And our friends at Transform Trade have an alternative... something

to make things better.

Many Christmas jumpers on the racks this year will have been made in part by homeworkers. These homeworkers stitch, embroider and pack clothes from their homes or small workshops and are paid by the piece – all without basic health and safety, often long into old age. If you want to find out more about the homeworkers who make your clothes, take a look at Transform Trade’s Unseen Appeal.

For just £15 you can support a garment worker like Kalaivani (pictured above)

This gift is not just another Christmas jumper

It's a gift that transforms the fashion industry by helping some of the worst paid and worst treated people who make our clothes. This gift card supports homeworkers fighting for formal recognition to access the workers' rights they deserve - so they can support their families and are protected in the case of ill health.

This is just one example of what charity gifts can do - it's about seeing a flawed system and doing something better.

You can browse the full range here and if you are looking for more traditional Christmas cards to send to your loved ones, Transform Trade’s charity cards are just the ticket. You can buy them from your local fair trade shop or stall or online.

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