At the RDS, over 400 designers, makers, and artisan food producers set up shop yesterday to begin the five-day event.
Among them are several eco-friendly clothing and cosmetics companies catering to consumers who are becoming more conscious about selecting thoughtful and morally-driven presents.
We discussed three Irish designers' sustainable business practises with them.
The 'Mad Jessie' designs that artist and designer MJ Jacob, who resides on a sailboat in County Waterford, has brought to the fair.
"Everything I make, I am to make it as sustainably as possible," she stated. "All of it is made here in Ireland and some of it has messaging in regards to climate change and rising tides."
Among Ms. Jacob's best-selling items are woollen hats, of which one particular style is "very special" to her.
It is constructed from leftover wool from previous designs that would not have been used otherwise. Ten years of increasing tides are symbolised by each stripe on the hat. It's a cute hat, but I believe it also conveys a significant message."
Described as "an ongoing journey, I'm always trying to get better," Ms. Jacob describes her sustainable approach. She recently changed the fabric she uses to make her tube scarves to one made of recycled plastic.
Zoë Daly's knitwear company Ériu wants to create "farm to yarn networks" in order to revitalise the Irish wool industry. The company buys sheep fleeces from farmers, processes them into yarn, and uses the yarn to make a variety of knit goods.
"Wool is an incredible fibre, we believe its the answer to so much of the fast fashion problems," she stated. "It’s naturally circular – it comes from the earth, from the animals, it sequesters carbon when it’s out, then you can put it back in the earth, farmers are constantly using it as compost or bedding because they don’t know what else to do with it."
With any luck, Ms. Daly's efforts will contribute to "rescuing Ireland’s once-thriving wool industry."
In her design studio, according to Ríon Hannora, "every single piece is always used." She follows a zero-waste policy.
She came up with a novel kind of accessory called "scrap babies" as a result of this strategy.
Ms. Hannora offers a variety of "scrap babies" that she can sew onto her customers' handbags or attach to her larger clothing.
"I always try to make the most of what I have rather than constantly purchasing new things. The fabrics themselves for many of my pieces would then be raw, unbleached cotton."
Gifted continues through December 10 at the RDS.