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Your sustainable and independent guide to Christmas shopping in London.

Waste and overconsumption is rife during the festive period, with Brits throwing  away £26m of waste every year1. Christmas shopping presents an invaluable opportunity to support independent businesses and is one of the ways that we can work towards a more socially just and environmentally sustainable future. 


Consequently, many of us however are making changes to have a more conscious Christmas this year. We recently  surveyed over 2,000 people, and two thirds (67%) of respondents said they are considering shopping sustainably this Christmas and over half (59%) think supporting independents is high on the agenda when buying gifts. If you’re planning on having a more conscious Christmas but are unsure where to go–fear not- here is our carefully curated sustainable shopping map of London to help you along.

At ICON Printing, we believe that sustainability requires an integrated approach that takes into consideration environmental concerns along with economic development. Therefore, our sustainable shopping map features 50 destinations including independent retailers, businesses with strong environmentally friendly credentials and stores working in a socially responsible manner. Whoever you are shopping for, you can be sure to find the perfect gift from one of these stores.

Fashion

By avoiding fast fashion and investing in select, quality brands, we can minimize our effect on both people and the planet.  Browse some of the world’s best independent and sustainable sourced brands at the below boutiques to find a gift for the stylish individuals in your life. 

Aida

69b Boutique

The Third Estate

The Keep Boutique

Beulah London

Couverture and The Garbstore

Bottletop

Wolf & Badger

Atika

Beauty

What we choose to put on our skin is as important as where we buy the products from. Treat your loved ones to some skincare from one of the below retailers who prioritise working responsibly with suppliers. 

Hair Organics

Buller and Rice

Planet Organic

Fresh

Content Beauty & Wellbeing

Blomma Beauty

Nini Organics

Food

What is Christmas without great food and drinks? There is no better time of year to support your local independent delis and grocers who stock all the delicious British produce and artisan goodies.

Lina Stores 

Eat 17

Giddy Grocer

Honey and Spice Deli

Melrose and Morgan

General Store

Terroni 

Italo

The Larder

Panzers

Homeware

From candles to plants, books to antiques, you’ll be spoilt for choice with all the unique gems and one off pieces available at these homeware stores.

BYO 

Cissy Wears

Deterra London

Labour and Wait

Mooch London

The Old Cinema

Earl of East

Prick

Cuemars

Kids

Whilst Christmas is a magical time of year for all, it is the kids that will be most excited about the prospect of Santa arriving. Fill their stockings with sustainably sourced kids clothes, books and toys from these independent retailers.

Triangle

Baby Mori

Pickled Pepper Books

Caramel

Luna and Curious

Markets

You’ll be able to find gifts for even the hardest to buy for recipients at one of London’s many markets. The following are some of the best, stocking an array of handmade, British sourced items. 

Pebbles Sustainable Market

Old Spitalfields Market

Eccleston Yards

Vinegar Yard

Greenwich Market

Brick Lane Market

Alfies Antiques

Broadway Market

Pets

Even pooches deserve to be spoiled at Christmas; however rather than shopping at larger retailers, it is possible to source items from independent businesses who are more conscious about where the ingredients come from.

Yoko

Pack and Clover

ICON Printing offers fast-turnaround printing on a range of garments- they count numerous independent businesses amongst their customers. Get a quote in 2 minutes online.

Survey methodology

The research was conducted by Censuswide, with 2,024 respondents aged 16+ in the UK between 02.11.2021 – 05.11.2021. The survey was conducted from a nationally representative sample of UK adults. Quotas were applied to nationally representative proportions for age, gender and region. Censuswide abide by and employ members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles. 

Sources 
1https://www.mattressonline.co.uk/blog/family/christmas-waste-unwrapped/

Christmas jumpers are a popular choice of clothing this time of year, but many people aren’t aware of just how damaging these novelty garments can actually be to the environment. 

A report last year warned that these festive sweaters are actually helping to fuel the world’s plastic pollution crisis – with many made wholly or partly from plastic materials. The eye-opening research from Hubbub also revealed that two out of five Christmas jumpers are only worn once over the festive period, yet one in three under 35s buy a new one every year! 

These findings didn’t sit very well with us, so we set out to offer a more sustainable option to consumers this year – through launching an innovative new limited-edition collection of alternative Christmas jumpers, with a real difference.

All three jumpers within the range are:

Reversible – with one side featuring a Christmas design and plain fabric on the other, it makes it the ideal winter staple

Designed with a serious environmental issue in mind – subtle environmental messaging has been weaved into each creative in order to raise awareness

Made from 100% organic cotton – no plastic materials or embellishments are in sight!

Raising funds for an environmental charity – proceeds from every sale will be donated to Hubbub

Part of a ‘swap shop’ initiative – once purchased, customers are given the option to send their old Christmas jumper back to get upcycled/donated to charity

View the collection here: https://www.iconprinting.com/icon-christmas-jumper-collection

100% of the profits from the ICON Christmas jumper collection will be donated to Hubbub (which equates to £10 minimum per sale).

Hubbub is an environmental charity that designs creative campaigns that raise awareness and engage the mainstream in important sustainability issues.  They focus on things that are relevant to people’s day to day lives such as fashion, food, our homes and where we live and work and empower people to take practical every day actions that make a difference. They recently won the Charity Awards’ Charity of the Year 2020 for their work.

Charity Number: 115870

For many of us, when we think of a polo shirt it’s one which is emblazoned with a logo. The logo polo shirt is simple and understated, and it’s for this reason that many brands choose to get custom embroidered or printed polo shirts for their business. The custom polo a ubiquitous sight on most high streets, usually seen with just one block colour all over, with a logo on the left breast.

The other place you’re likely to find the logo polo shirt is in sportswear. Smart, but still with an easygoing air, the shirt has been embraced in sports for the same reason as it’s been adopted by brands. Boasting the combination of smartness with a loose, airy fit, it’s seen the shirt popularised in tennis by Fred Perry, where there was (and still is at Wimbledon, at least) an emphasis on keeping up a genteel appearance even as you compete at the top tier of elite sport.

But how to make sure that your own logo polo shirt is up to scratch? The simple things are often the hardest to pull off, and with plenty of other brands proffering their own examples, it’s vital to make sure that you get yours right. Here we offer four tips on how to make sure your polos are as good as they can be.

4 insider tips on how to create awesome logo polo shirts

1. You can use embroidery or screen printing

For polo shirts, it’s possible to screen print or embroider your design – but we’d generally recommend using embroidery for best results. If you’re really keen to screen print, we’d recommend using higher quality polo shirts to ensure you get best results (like those by Stanley Stella, for example.) In both cases, the minimum order is 20 units.

2. Keep it simple

Whether you’re using screen printing or embroidery, you’ll get best results by keeping your design simple. For embroidery, in particular, text and simple line graphics work best, and we advise to use a design no smaller than 50mm. In the case of logo polo shirts, it means that if you have a complex or super-detailed logo for your brand, then it would be advisable to adapt it. Bring out the key aspects for a clean and simple approach – that way, the finished product won’t have any issues with the embroidery.

3. Think creatively about embroidery

If you decide to use embroidery for your shirt, then it’s worth thinking about ways to toy with the medium. Compared to screen printing, there’s a tactile side to embroidery that can be interesting to play around with. For example, by using thread that’s the same or similar colour as your garment, it can create a subtle effect that will catch people’s eye once they notice it.

4. Consider using special threads

Another great thing about embroidery is the special, attention-grabbing threads which you can use for your design. These can come in a range of options such as neon or metallic. Of course, this depends on your brand identity and the style you’re looking to suggest, but it’s worth considering for a small splash of something different on your designs.


Want to create your own polo shirts? ICON Printing offer fast turnaround printing on a range of garments, counting a number of clients ranging from such as WeWork to Boiler Room and the Tate. Get a quote in 2 minutes online.

A custom jacket is a rare, refined kind of garment. Brands or businesses creating a custom jacket are looking to create a unique, super-quality product. This means that’s important to get it right.

Similar to hoodies, a jacket is an item that can find its way into being an everyday mainstay. They’re usually one of the most pricey lines of clothing. By the same token, this means they can be adopted as one of the most highly cherished items in someone’s wardrobe.

What’s more, there are more likely to be issues with printing onto jackets, due to the different shapes, designs and designs they come in. So it takes careful consideration to make sure the product you create is up to scratch. With this in mind, we’ve pulled together our top tips on the pitfalls to avoid and the aspects to keep in mind when designing a custom jacket.

4 tips on how to design a killer custom jacket

1. Use a simple design

One thing to note about custom jackets is that it’s not possible to do direct-to-garment (DTG) printing. This means that your main options are transfer printing, screen printing or embroidery (or a combination, of course.) Whereas with DTG it’s possible to print photos and super-detailed designs, these other methods get better results with simple designs. So this is something to bear in mind when planning your design.

(For more on DTG and screen printing, head here; for more on transfer printing, head here; and for more on embroidery, head here.)

2. Choose your jacket carefully

In many cases, clients we work with will supply their own jackets. This of course gives you greater freedom in the garment you choose to customise, but it’s worth bearing in mind how suitable the jacket will be for customisation. For example, certain details, like the lining or the pockets, can mean that it’s not possible to do screen printing. Additionally, we ourselves offer a big range of jackets, all of which are created to be used for customisation, meaning that you’re much less likely to have issues with the finished product.

3. Use the right kind of file

One small but important detail to remember: the file type you use when sending over your designs. For all of the methods that we use for jackets – that is, transfer printing, screen printing, DTG and embroidery – we ask for vector files rather than raster files. If you need help with this, we can usually offer a service to vectorise your design, so just get in touch to discuss.

(For more on file types, head here.)

4. Discuss different options with us

As has hopefully been made clear, there’s a lot to consider when it comes to custom jackets. Perhaps moreso than any other merch item, there are many variables which can affect what’s possible – and, most importantly, what kind of final result you’re going to get. So we recommend getting in touch to discuss what you’ve got planned, as we’re always open to discussing orders and offering our input on what would work.

Want to create your own custom jackets? ICON Printing offer fast turnaround printing on a range of garments, counting a number of clients ranging from such as WeWork to Boiler Room and the Tate. Get a quote in 2 minutes online.

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