Buzzwords like ‘sustainability‘ and ‘ethical fashion’ may have elusive definitions that, for some, shift and change with the focus of the message; but for Stella McCartney it’s a clear cut mission for good. With a laser-beam focus on working to change the way the fashion industry operates, McCartney has never been half-hearted about presenting her her values and beliefs to the world. For spring 2012 that means delving further into her ethical business efforts and creating pieces that may appeal to more than just your sense of aesthetics.

As far as Christmas gifts go, a piece like this snakeskin canvas tote is perfect for any proponent of ethical fashion, or anyone who likes their accessories to come with a back-story. Handmade in Nyirobi, Kenya, from recycled tent canvas, it was designed in support of the International Trade Center’s Ethical Fashion Programme; a programme that provides work to the local African community.

The ICT Ethical Fashion Program allows international fashion houses and distributors to source fashion and lifestyle products from disadvantaged African communities and their groups of informal manufacturers, mostly women, creating a new form of aid which promotes sustainable businesses rather than dependency on charity.

And as well as it’s quest to do what it can to better lives, this little bag is, let’s face it, perfect for a day at the beach.

Available from Stella McCartney stores this season, the tote retails for $330.

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