Black Friday is here, the biggest consumer day of the year.
Last year, UK consumers spent an estimated £1.4 billion on Black Friday buying everything from fashion to tech and food, and this year the spend is estimated to be even higher.
Shopping fashion makes many of us happy. It increases our sense of belonging to the on-trend fashion tribe and, in that moment, we sense our purchase to be the missing piece of the jigsaw puzzle to complete the look and convey our inner self to others, which in turn could lead to landing that dream job, strengthening our relationships with friends and, just maybe, attract the attention of that special someone. It’s all very enticing.
And importantly, socially, Black Friday is doing some good given that it offers people with little money the opportunity to buy something that they could not otherwise afford and genuinely need, such as a student being able to buy a laptop or a family warm winter jackets for their children.
That said, for me it’s strange how consumer spending is growing, when most people are aware that over-consumption is the root of many of the environmental issues we are experiencing. It’s a little like knowing that one’s weight has a seriously negative impact on our health, and yet we continue to eat those glorious calorie-packed cakes because they make us feel happy, for that all-too-brief moment.
As with cake, in between the really good pieces that give us true pleasure, are those that are simply empty calories! And that’s how I see Black Friday, a retail driven event that encourages us to impulse buy many things that end up in landfill equating to empty calories burdening this beautiful world.
So, how can we be mindful consumers this Black Friday?
1. Be true to yourself - by only buying those pieces you have needed and wanted for a long time, the really good ones that truly makes you happy and that you have saved up for. Leave the others.. you never really loved them.
2. Plan - by writing a shopping list before the Black Friday campaigns start to keep those impulse buys in check. Your credit card will thank you for it!
3. Think long term - and only buy pieces that you know will last beyond the current micro-trends. That pink boiler suit… are you really going to wear it again next Autumn?
Chances are you will get much more wear out of a green, black or denim boiler suit than a pink. Featured: the Verdon jumpsuit.
Ideally, we should all send Black Friday retailers a big signal that we prefer their prices to reflect the true value of their products year-round by not engaging in the shopping frenzy at all. This is my personal goal. However, I do appreciate that it is too much of a cold turkey for many people, so by taking the above steps to shop more responsibly we can still make a difference which we can feel good about.
Changes in consumer behaviour are the biggest drivers for change in general.
To slow down fashion, as well as to highlight the fact that behind every product is a person who deserves a living wage, along with an environmental footprint, most sustainable fashion brands choose to opt out of the Black Friday shopping by keeping their products full price and donating their profits to NGOs.
At VILDNIS, we have renamed the day Green Friday and are donating 100% of our profits on sales between the 22-25th November 2018 to the charity Friends of The Earth.
Green truly is the new Black (Friday)!