Black Friday is steeped in controversy when it comes to sustainable fashion. It’s no surprise why, as this marketing tool continues spreading from North America to the UK, with the sole objective of driving sales for retailers after Thanksgiving.
One of the biggest criticisms of Black Friday is the huge discounts that encourage people to make mindless purchases - very often of things that will never be worn, or only a handful of times before it is discarded to a future in landfill. There’s also a surge of electronic shopping during this period, with “2-4-1” or “3-4-2” sales driving over-consumerism for the sole reason of it feeling like a bargain. Suddenly we have three of the same thing, when we only really needed one.
The environmental impact of Black Friday is huge. High street shops take the lion’s share of sales, which means that the majority of garments are made from plastic bi-products including polyester and nylon. The encouragement to “buy, buy, buy” means that mindless purchasing decisions are made, for things that people don’t even want, and things they won’t even like in 5 minutes time. It can therefore breed a mentality of "throw-away culture" which we are working so hard to eliminate.
So why do some ethical brands still take part?
At Ethical Stories Ethical Me, we believe that there is a reason for ethical brands to continue with their own form of a sale day (we don’t want to affiliate ourselves with ‘Black Friday' though…) We acknowledge that our customers have budgets, and may be trying to save money. Whether your rent has just gone up, or your flat isn’t selling because of Brexit, or simply the need to plan gifting really carefully to make sure you can buy everything within a certain budget for Christmas, we don’t want our family of conscious consumers to be punished for shopping ethically. It can be difficult enough for people to shop sustainably because of the price difference between brands like us and the high street. We don't feel that sustainably-minded shoppers should be further discouraged.
The reason we are calling our flash sale on Friday 29th November "Green Friday" is two-fold: firstly because we are offering our community a chance to buy sustainable pieces at a discounted price. We really do get behind #whereyoushopmatters. The second reason for the name is because for every sale made during Black Friday and the weekend, we will donate to the National Trust for a tree sapling to be planted. Following recent devastation through deforestation and forest fires, we want to do our bit.