Since the 1950s, the day after American Thanksgiving has been considered the official start of the holiday shopping season, called "Black Friday." The phrase itself signifies the day when retailers’ financial years would finally turn a profit, going from “in the red” to “in the black”. In recent decades this first day of holiday shopping has increasingly been marked by massive discounts, long store opening hours and online shopping sales. It’s also becoming more heavily marketed around the world and extending from a single day to a weekend and sometimes even a week’s worth of discounts.
As a brand that is passionate about ethics and the quality of our products, this Black Friday Artisans & Adventurers are taking a stand against mindless consumption, and saying no to sales between Black Friday and Cyber Monday (27th – 30th November) alongside our friends at Fashion Revolution. We have decided to donate 5% of sales from Black Friday to midnight on Cyber Monday in support of Fashion Revolution to help sustain the incredible work that they do.
People around the world are increasingly aware that the fast fashion industry’s impact on people and the planet is out of control. The effect of COVID-19 on the fashion industry has left brands with huge amounts of unsold stock. While it’s impossible to estimate just how many clothes have been landfilled or incinerated, Bangladesh alone has seen more than $3 billion USD in cancelled orders, representing an estimated 982 million garments.
In addition, the majority of the people who make our clothes live in poverty and the gap between rich and poor continues to grow. For instance, it’s estimated that it would take a major fashion CEO just 4 days to earn what a female garment worker in Bangladesh will earn in her entire lifetime. Black Friday represents the horrifying pinnacle in an industry that runs on overproduction. When we buy into the seemingly good deals, we send a message to brands that it’s okay for them to thoughtlessly produce at the cost of people and the planet, because we’ll help them get rid of their stockpiles as long as they are massively discounted. But every purchase comes with a price.
Not all discounts spark mindless consumption. In fact, many of us may wait for a sale before buying an essential product, like a new mattress or pair of headphones. Sale seasons help many people access products that wouldn’t otherwise be affordable to them. So, if you’re awaiting Black Friday as a matter of affordability, we understand. Unfortunately, many purchases on Black Friday do not come from a place of need. 29% of shoppers in the UK are expected to spend the most on clothing and shoes during Black Friday, whilst in France that number was 53%.
Throughout November, Fashion Revolution is asking people to take part in the campaign by abstaining from shopping the discounts, and spreading the message that overproduction costs the Earth with their free, downloadable social media assets. Participants can also use their voices by reaching out to the big brands and asking #WhoMadeMyClothes? and #WhatsInMyClothes?, along with confronting brands about making less stuff.
Fashion Revolution cofounder and creative director, Orsola de Castro, said,
“Black Friday is a scam. It’s one more way to get citizens to think they are finding a bargain, when in fact they are hunting an illusion. Don’t just buy because it’s cheap, think of why you are intending to buy, inspect your potential purchase and only then decide. Black Friday is about the rush, the speed, the compulsion. At Fashion Revolution we are asking you to stay conscientious, to buy with purpose.”
Artisans & Adventurers urges you to think about the impact of your purchases this festive season. Every small decision counts towards a much larger, global movement towards a sustainable future - because after all, it’s about more than just clothes. By donating, you are helping to run Fashion Revolution’s campaign for change. We hope to see you this Black Friday weekend as we work to support a cause that encompasses what we as a brand are all about. Last year, we managed to raise £250 for Fashion Revolution thanks to you, our customers. Let's all do our bit to create a more sustainable, ethical future.
To learn more about the campaign and to take part, click here.