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2020 is the year of change. Even with soaring sales for some businesses, some brands have taken the bold path in not participating in one of the year’s biggest sales event, Black Friday. Black Friday is how the founder of #TakeBackBlackFriday, Livia Firth, put it: “it’s the day we buy things we don’t need, for people we don’t care about, and with money we don’t have.”
Instead of cancelling Black Friday all together, some brands have adapted creative ways to sell out their leftover stock such as bundle deals, donations to organizations, and giving customers the choice to pay higher price in exchange for a contribution to a good cause.
Why do we have Black Friday?
Although the term “Black Friday” has a different historical origin, the sales phenomenon behind Black Friday as we see it today started off with a significant increase in sales the day after Thanksgiving. The US department store giant, Macy’s, has organized yearly Thanksgiving Day Parade since the 1920’s and drew in large groups of customers. As the world watched the success behind Macy’s commercial sales event, Black Friday spread to other countries and has now turned into a shopping frenzy.
It might seem like common sense that brands use Black Friday to clean out their stock that has been piled up from slow sales during the year, “hello 2020”. However, Black Friday is no longer just a way to flush out old stock, it has become a major force that drives companies’ strategies and affects every stage of their operations.
Eventually, this day became one of the biggest sales peaks for companies, making the yearly results highly dependent on a single day’s sales. Many fashion companies plan production, buying, and sales around the estimation of next Black Friday sales. “You can’t run out of stock on the biggest sales day of the year!” So what does that lead to? Marked down prices, overproduction, and overconsumption. It’s a vicious circle.
What is Green Friday?
Customers are more mindful and conscious than ever, they are realizing the ugly truth behind Black Friday. Over the last decade, we have seen an outcry from fashion movements and sustainability advocates to stop Black Friday (#FashionRevolution #LovedClothesLast). In 2020, more companies are taking the initiative to object to Black Friday and say ‘no’ to overproduction. Some brands are taking advantage of Black Friday to promote the complete opposite, or what they coined “Green Friday”.
What is Green Friday? Brands are creating different campaigns to stand up against Black Friday, some are purely cancelling the event, some are even shutting down their shops, some are donating to organizations, and some are even going further by raising their prices for the day. Here are some examples to what sustainable brands are doing for Green Friday.
New Zealand brand, Allbirds is increasing their prices by $1/€1 and donating it to Fridays For Future, an organization that is raising awareness and fighting against climate change.
Lenvers is a Knitwear brand from Spain, using materials from Spanish and French spinning mills. Starting from Black Friday over a one-year period, they are giving 1% of their benefits to Clean Clothes Campaign, a movement for improving working conditions in the global garment industry. Not only that, their e-shop has literally gone Black and will be closed for Black Friday.
Cariuma is a Brazilian shoe brand that re-enforcing their sustainability campaigns by planting 10 trees for every pair of shoe purchased, instead of 2. Brazil is home to a majority of the world’s rainforest and its wildlife has been and still is endangered as more of the rainforest keeps being destroyed by humans. Cariuma is aiming to restore the rainforest one tree at a time.
From the grey East London, House of Sunny is joining many brands in planting trees for every purchase made between November 25th and December 1st, in collaboration with One Tree Planted. They will also offer up to 30% discount on selected items.
With each purchase of eco-friendly item from Organic Basics, they will donate €10 to WWF to convert conventional cotton field into regenerative practices, until they reach their target of €90,000.
Companies are listening to customers’ demand for a more sustainable fashion industry and as a consumer, we can start by looking for alternatives to save money. Ask yourself, do you really need the item? Would you have wanted the item even without a discount? If you really must buy something, choose consciously and look for brands that are sustainable and ethical. Black Friday or not, overconsumption contributes to harming both the people and the environment. Let’s take back Black Friday.