The festive season has kicked off, which means a few things: dusting off that Christmas decor, eating lots of indulgent food and exchanging thoughtful gifts with loved ones.
It’s been a hectic year, so if you still haven’t crossed a name off your Christmas gifts list yet, fret not, this website is your one-stop-shop for all things bespoke, cool and totally local.
Welcome to Il-Lokal!
It’s the first online store to bring together dozens of independent artists and brands straight from the sunny isles of Malta. They’ve got everything from one-of-a-kind prints to hand-sewn garments, candles, ceramics and quirky accessories.
In a nutshell, Il-Lokal connects you to local makers and the best of Malta’s creative talent!
This extraordinary year has hit everyone, but artists are particularly hurt. It’s never been a better time to support home-grown talent.
Here’s a guide to buy from local brands this Christmas, so you know the recipients are getting a unique present that supports our creatives – it’s a no-brainer.
1. Meet the Locals – print series
Maltese illustrator Ed Dingli brought his iconic minimal style to his latest series – Meet The Locals. It’s inspired by an experience of an unexpected lockdown in Marsalforn, Gozo this year. If you’re looking for an artistic way to remember this year, this is an ideal gift to get.
You can snag one for you and your aesthetic-loving friends as a single print or part of a Christmas bundle.
2. Hand-poured luxury candle
If your gift-receiver is a tad on the bougie-side, NAR candles offer high quality, luxury candles made with premium ecological ingredients.
This brand is also all about being eco-conscious. In fact, all candles can be reused as balms once the wax has melted, because NAR Candles uses all-natural and vegan ingredients, so not only do they fill your space with gorgeous aromas, but they play on the senses with their therapeutic oils and wood-crackling wicks. Que beau.
Check out their range here. They’ve also got a limited edition Christmas Collection.
3. Terrazzo Cross
This one is for your boldest friends looking to shake up their home decor. These crosses are handcrafted by architect and artist Neal Vella, who also founded Form Matters, a design-led brand with a focus on making bespoke pieces like these.
Check out all the variations of this gorgeous piece here.
4. Macrame Plant Hanger
2020 was truly the year of indoor greenery. Why not treat your plant-obsessed pals to a hand-knitted macrame piece to hang their plants in? These pieces are made were crafted by Alison, the creative behind The Urban Botanist.
These hangers are made to order and available in seven different designs and a variety of colours.
Check out her collection here.
5. Handmade Leather Purse
Sometimes our classy or work-orientated friends are the most difficult to shop for – but don’t worry, Birgu Blue has got the perfect solution.
Check out their leather bags – they’re entirely hand-stitched in vegetable-tanned leather by a seasoned leather-smith Ozzy Chieh.
If you want to go to that extra mile – you can even get personalised engraving of initials free of charge.
Check them out here.
6. Hand-typed Typewriter Illustration
If you’re looking for a retro gift, check out these super cool illustrations by Manuela Zammit also known as Textpresso. Each illustration is hand-designed and typed on a cream, slightly textured paper. Every piece is ever so slightly different than the next, which is what makes them so special.
Check out Texpresso’s pieces here.
There’s nothing quite like unwrapping some beautiful, hand-crafted pieces of ceramic at Christmas. These ceramic plates by Tiziana Schembri come in sets of three in large, medium and small sizes – ideal for serving snacks, a placeholder for your favourite jewellery or as decor.
Check out Ceramics by Tiz here.
8. Recycled Stationary
This isn’t just any other stationery set. Firstly, it’s inspired by Maltese patterned floor tiles and includes a Weekly Planner, a To-do List, a Shopping List, a Ruled A5 Journal, a Blank Journal A5 and a Bookmark. It’s the perfect way to encourage a fresh start at the new year.
Check out Maduma here.
9. Embroidery On Textile
Byebrucinar is a brand by Turkey-born, Malta-based embroidery artist that takes inspiration from the modern world and captures it elegantly on framed fabric. The result? Beautiful, handstitched creations like this.
Check out her whole collection, which includes some Christmas and COVID-19-inspired pieces here.
10. Christmas card
Finally, what’s a Christmas gift without a Christmas card?
If you’re looking to support local all the way, go ahead and check out the cards made by Maltese illustrator Kristina Zammit Endrich. Zammit Endrich creates vivid, tongue-in-cheek cards under her brand Island and Prairies. From greeting to birthday cards and pop-culture references, welcome to your new go-to card brand.
Check out her cards here.
This season, impress your loved ones and lift their spirits with these awesome local gifts. You’re guaranteed to be the best gift-giver at your Secret Santa and also be supporting Malta’s independent artists. It’s totally a win-win!
Also, you’ll be happy to forget the stress of rushing around different stores to get your gifts. Thanks to Il-Lokal, you can browse an endless list of home-grown brands and products from the comfort of your home.
Tag someone who needs to finish their Christmas shopping!