On Friday 25 November, the world will once again fall under the Black Friday spell. We want to help you avoid the hype, and embrace ethical consumerism.
3 questions that will help you avoid the Black Friday hype
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 thousands of 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:
- Citizen Wolf (“Great”): For the last 2 years, Citizen Wolf has been running “Black Fridye”, an annual event aiming to end disposable fashion by hijacking the Black Friday sales/news cycle to make it simple to love your clothes longer by dyeing them black—same dopamine hit with 95% less carbon.
- Flamingos’ Life (“Good”): Spanish plant-based shoemakers brand, Flamingos’ Life, will face Black Friday overconsumption by closing its online store on Black Friday. In a globalised world, the brand is joining forces with other ethical brands committed to the salvation of the planet to create a bigger impact and spread the message around the world.
- MUD Jeans (“Great”): Denim expert MUD Jeans is closing its online store and selling vintage jeans via a live stream instead.
- Pantee (“Good”): Similar to Flamingo’s Life, Pantee will turning off its website again this year to all but its engaged customers to fight against the huge amount of unsustainable impulse buying driven by Black Friday promotions. The message? Stop and think before you buy. Is it something you love? Is it something you need? If so, go ahead—buy, enjoy, and cherish your new clothes, tech, or Pantees until the very end.
- RAEBURN (“Good”): RÆBURN, known for its responsible and intelligent fashion designs, is disabling its online store and offering an in-store repair service instead.
- teemill (“Great”): Instead of asking customers to buy something new, teemill is asking them to send back their old products. The brand will use what customers have send back to create new products through a process called Remill, which has already helped us to divert 30,000kg of organic cotton from landfill, avoiding 1m kg of CO2e emissions, and saving 586m litres of water.
- ASKET (“Good”): ASKET will also be shutting down their website, instead encouraging followers to care, repair and revive.
- Kotn (“Good”): This Black Friday, Kotn isn’t going on sale. Instead, it’s building schools. For the sixth year in a row, and in partnership with the NGO Misr El Kheir Foundation, all proceeds from November 25th through November 29th will fund the build-out and operations of primary schools in rural Egypt.
- Thesus (“Good”): Thesus will be running its annual Be Outside campaign again this year. The campaign aims to get people away from overconsumption and into the outdoors that weekend. It’ll be giving gift cards away to everyone who shows on social media that they are spending time in nature that weekend. Last year the brand got over 500 people into the outdoors, and this year it’s aiming for 1000.
- Mashu (“Good”): This year, instead of a sale or any purchase incentive, Mashu is launching its CLEAR FRIDAY campaign, introducing its Traceability Roadmap at a product level. On each product page, customers will find a Traceability drop down, where they can learn about each step of their bag’s production, as well as understand the working conditions and pay of Mashu’s team at each point of production.
- FREITAG (“Good”): Under the motto “Don’t shop, just S.W.A.P.”, the FREITAG Online Store will be closed on Black Friday, and you’ll be redirected straight to the brand’s S.W.A.P. bag exchange platform. And for the first time this year, you can also take part in a real-time, face-to-face bag exchange: on S.W.A.P. Friday, at selected FREITAG stores from Zurich to Tokyo.
- Ecoalf (“Good”): Ecoalf is committed to not offering Black Friday discounts that could promote impulse buying. Instead, the brand wants to share alternatives to help you consume more responsibly and lower your impact.
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.