Since the 1950s, the day after American Thanksgiving has been considered the official start of the holiday shopping season, called "Black Friday." The phrase 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 alongside our friends at Fashion Revolution. We have decided to donate 10% 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. But have you ever questioned "who made my jewellery?" Most fast fashion retailers stock jewellery, often referred to as being 'cheap and cheerful' but is that true? Unfortunately, the people who produce these cheap jewellery collections are exploited workers, much like those who work in sweatshops or poorly-run factories sewing our clothes. In reality, fast fashion jewellery is often very trend-based, meaning many people will throw away these pieces once the trend has passed. Virgin metals, plastic and unethical gold or silver plating are the materials that are mostly used for making fast fashion jewellery, and all of these have their own detrimental effects. Harsh chemicals are also often used to produce cheap jewellery, most of which get washed back into our water supplies, wreaking irreversible damage to our ecosystems.
These products are not made to last, meaning they will end up in landfill not long after they have been produced. As they are made from materials that cannot biodegrade or be recycled, these pieces of jewellery will remain in landfill, emitting harmful chemicals into the air. Brands using higher-cost materials may not necessarily be any better. Silver and gold can be incredibly unethical and unsustainable, with much of it being mined by men, women and children in impoverished areas and in unsafe conditions. Most silver and gold being mined in the world comes from rural communities in places like Ghana and Brazil. Mining is an incredibly invasive process which can cause damage to local communities and ecosystems. Mining is also a dangerous process, with 81 reported fatalities in precious metal mining in 2018 alone. As resources become increasingly more scarce, workers are forced to mine deeper which increases the risk of mines collapsing as well as inhaling toxic fumes. It is an industry which is rife with exploitation, with many children being sent to work down mines. Ethical and eco-friendly gold and silver does exist, but it is important to check the companies sources. If they are unwilling to share where their metals come from, there is probably a reason why.
For all of our jewellery collections, we use recycled brass and aluminium, utilising these surplus materials from several industries to ensure our efforts towards zero waste. We also use recycled silver in our Indian jewellery collections. Fun -or not so fun- fact: £36,000,000 worth of aluminium is thrown away each year and if all cans in the UK were recycled, we would need 14 million fewer dustbins. Brass is an incredible, sustainable metal that polishes up to look just like high-shine gold. Brass is one of the most recycled metals in the world, and is significantly more energy efficient to recycle. Brass can be recycled many times over without diminishing the composition so it means that the recycling process can continue time and time again. Our jewellery is also made by expert artisans who are paid fairly for their expertise in their craft. Our partner workshop in Jaipur is certified by SEDEX, a not-for-profit organisation responsible for auditing businesses committed to the continuous improvement of ethical performance within their supply chains. Anton & Benta who make our Signature Kenyan Jewellery Collection work from their own backyard workshop to Fair Trade standards with the help of their adult children.
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.