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Time's running out to finish your holiday shopping, but instead of fighting mall traffic and rushing around department stores to grab cookie-cutter presents for everyone on your list, try giving something truly distinctive and stylish while support local designers — all from the comfort of your own home. (Especially if you won't see the recipients until 2011, anyway!)
Independent marketplaces like Etsy and Supermarket supply oodles of great gift ideas from small business owners, crafters, and artisans. Items abound that are both chic and unique, and everything in this sweet selection comes in under $100 (which means there just might be room in the budget for you, too). Each is a statement piece that updates an existing wardrobe (practical and posh), though orders may not be fulfilled until after the New Year, so make sure to plan those gift exchanges after the holidays.
HANNAH Brooch or LETITA Fabric Flower ($30-$35)
Maria Louise High runs the Etsy boutique RiRiFisch. Her shop contains large, dramatic flower accessories perfect for your favorite fashion-forward girly girl, including the HANNAH Flower Corsage Brooch and the LETITIA Parfait Pink and Gray Fabric Flower. These accents add a touch of spring to any wintry outfit, and both are made to order, ensuring they’ll be just right for your loved ones!
Men’s Kurt Vonnegut, Vintage Guitars, or Unicycle T-Shirt ($17)
We all have that super-cool guy friend who comes to every party in an awesome, ironic t-shirt, and if you’re looking to impress him, look no further than Zen Threads, a store that prints shirts with indie, artistic, and even environmental flair. The shirts are hand-printed to order with water-based inks: one-of-a-kind creations for your one-of-a-kind guy!
CUTE & CUSTOM
Ruffle Top with Cap Sleeves ($69)
A few well-placed ruffles can make a gorgeous statement, and this Ruffle Top with Cap Sleeves blouse (in an amazing Venice Blue color) from Lirola is simple and flattering, a home-run for even the most chic on your list. It comes in sizes 0-20, it can be made without the ruffle at the bottom, and the sleeves can be made longer -- a trifecta of perfect customization to your BFF’s wonderful sense of style.
LEAVES OF CLASS
Sideways Leaf Necklace ($18)
Have a friend who loves the great outdoors (but may be in need of a little boost in the style department)? The Sideways Leaf Necklace from Rhondas Treasures gives homage to mother nature while jazzing up even the plainest of necklines. And at $18, who can resist?
TIE ONE ON
Native Print Blue & Yellow Silk Neck Kerchief Scarf ($105)
Upcycled fashion designer Nicole Deponte takes old ties and completely transforms them into new treasures. Her new take on an old standby has caught the attention of MTV’s Switch Blog, ABC LA's Must Haves, and Living Green. And okay, at $105, we admit this item is a smidge over the $100 target, but that extra $5 goes a long way for a statement accessory that's artistic, beautiful and practical.
Braided Pixie Hat ($45)
For that adorable friend who radiates positive energy, check out the Braided Pixie Hat from Fig Knitting. This cold-weather staple has long tassels that double as a scarf, and each item is made to order. It's a great piece for the friend who wants to add a touch of whimsy to her winter wardrobe!
ONE OF A KIND
Keep in mind that because these are the shops of small businesses and crafters, the exact item listed may not be available for long, and they may have stopped taking orders for Christmas. Each item we've suggested is representational of the artist, however, and serves as a reminder to support those who have followed their entrepreneurial dreams while simultaneously making the world a more fashionable place to live. For more tips on supporting local independent businesses, check out our coverage of the Plaid Friday movement.
Story: Copyright 2010, Shoestring LLC & Kaarin Moore. Image: Courtesy of Fig Knitting.