On Friday the 29th of November, the world will once again fall under the Black Friday spell. Originally an American phenomenon, Black Friday and its online cousin Cyber Monday have since spread their tendrils across the globe. We want to help you avoid the hype, and embrace ethical consumerism this year and every year!
Hailed as the biggest shopping event of the year, an astounding average of 100 million Americans hit the shops the day after Thanksgiving in a desperate hunt for ‘bargains’. While Thanksgiving and Black Friday are still the busiest shopping days for stores, foot traffic has declined in the past couple of years. Last year, it fell as much as 9% from 2017, but don’t let that be too much comfort – online sales went up 18%, so shoppers are simply going digital.
The day is a clarion call to kick off the Christmas shopping season, and in 2018, American shoppers each spent $1,007.24, with a staggering total spend in the US of $717.5 billion!
The name Black Friday carries with it many negative connotations, such as crowds of frenzied shoppers pushing, shoving, and injuring each other to grab more stuff they don’t actually need, highlighting one of the ugly sides of (literally) fast fashion.
It’s especially disheartening when you consider that a large proportion of new clothing purchased around the world soon makes its way to landfill. Globally, 80% of discarded textiles are doomed for the landfill or incineration after an average of only 7 wears. In the US, the EPA has estimated that shoppers throw away at least 13 million tons of clothes each year. In fact, consumers in North America are purchasing (and wasting) fives times as much clothing as they did 25 years ago!
It’s so easy, and so human, to feel some major FOMO when you’re surrounded by messages claiming that you need to take advantage of these amazing deals on items that will make your life better. Give yourself the gift of taking a moment to shift from unconscious to conscious consumer. Before you reach for your wallet, ask yourself these three questions:
How much will I wear it? How much do I already own? How long will it last?
After careful consideration, you may find that you don’t really need any new stuff after all. Perhaps you’d prefer to be more creative and embrace some haulternatives? If you do still want to buy new, empower yourself to make ethical choices. Resisting the impulse to buy loads of cheap items in favour of investing in quality pieces not only makes your look more streamlined, it also reduces the amount you consume and spend overall.
Even a gorgeously tailored black dress isn’t worth much to you if you already have 10 just like it. A $15 t-shirt is no bargain if it’s worn out after a few washes. And those jeans on sale aren’t worth $40 if you’ll wear them just twice before consigning them to the back of your closetMarc Bain
Make sure to choose something from a brand having a positive impact on the planet and its inhabitants. You can use the free Good On You app (on Apple and Android) or the directory to check the labour, environment, and animal ratings for over 2,500 fashion brands. You can also find exclusive offers on ethical brands all year round, which is especially helpful for those of us who can have trouble affording new ethical fashion!
Let’s work together to reduce the impact of the fashion industry by going into this year’s shopping season with a conscience—or even better, avoiding it altogether.