On Friday 26 November, the world will once again fall under the Black Friday spell. We want to help you avoid the hype, and embrace ethical consumerism.
Originally an American phenomenon, Black Friday and its online cousin Cyber Monday have since spread their tendrils across the globe.
Hailed as the biggest shopping event of the year, Black Friday 2020 was the most polluting holiday yet, as consumers spent $9 billion shopping online—up 21.6% on the previous year. While Thanksgiving and Black Friday are still the busiest shopping days for stores, foot traffic has declined in the past couple of years: online shopping sales hit $7.4 billion in 2019, an all-time high.
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 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:
1. How much do I already own?
2. How much will I wear it?
3. How long will it last?
After careful consideration, you may find that you don’t really need any new stuff after all. 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 or the directory to check the labour, environment, and animal ratings for over 3,000 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.
Some brands recognise the damage of events like Black Friday on conscious consumerism, and go out of their way to fight against the tide. Here is a selection of eco-initiatives worth supporting: