Eco-Age and Global Fashion Exchange are calling on our communities around the world to #TakeBackBlackFriday and celebrate slower, more sustainable ways of living.
With the festive season around the corner, it’s that time of year where many of us find that we’re spending money we don’t have on things we don’t need for people we don’t like – to quote Stephen Colbert in the True Cost movie. No matter how thoughtful the gifts you buy over the holiday period, large global retailers have latched onto the trend of sales spiking in November and December at a scale that has been growing year on year.
Black Friday isn’t a new phenomenon – discount sales have taken place on the weekend following Thanksgiving since the early 20th century in the United States – more recently, UK retailers followed suit and began to hold Black Friday discount sales within their retail spaces too. However, the scale of the shopping frenzy has grown significantly since online shopping became the new norm; average weekly internet sales almost tripled between November 2010 and 2017. Coined in 2005 by Ellen Davis, Cyber Monday has surpassed Black Friday in sales and revenue in recent years, making it the biggest shopping day of the year as shoppers stay at home to bag the biggest bargains.
This year, Eco-Age and Global Fashion Exchange are calling on our inspiring global networks to #TakeBackBlackFriday and all the senseless waste it generates. “#TakeBackBlackFriday is about a slow movement we need to foster as consumers,” says Livia. “They want us to keep buying as if there is not tomorrow, and Black Friday or Cyber Monday are just another way of wooing us into keep spending money and buying “stuff”. So let’s reclaim our identity as citizens and create together a slower way of living where we #takebackblackfriday and every day of the year!”
“Black Friday has become a frenzy for brands and consumers – companies create a demand for product and people go into a buying pandemonium,” says Patrick. “When consumers demand more, more needs to be made which increases the negative impact on the environment. Our consumption habits are already taking a toll with incresed emissions, increased land-use and deforestation, which is accelerating climate change.”
Why we need to #TakeBackBlackFriday
There is always a human cost to low-cost purchases
In order for garments, technology and other products to be produced in huge volumes and sold at heavily discounted rates, there is always a human cost involved. A 2016 report found that, of the 71 participating, 77% of leading UK retailers believed it was likely that a form of slavery existed within their supply chains. When consumer demand and unsustainable revenue targets continue to grow together, so too does the human cost of fast and overwhelming scales of production.
Every purchase comes with an environmental cost
From sourcing materials to manufacturing, packaging to transportation, every time we, as individual consumers, make a purchase we have an environmental impact. In 2018, 82,000 diesel vans and trucks took to UK roads to deliver Black Friday and Cyber Monday orders from online shoppers; concerns about spikes in air pollution and fuel consumption were raised by health and environmental professionals. With textile production contributing more towards climate change than international aviation and shopping combined, it’s not just a matter of how you buy but what you buy.
We need to change the way we shop
As global sales on Black Friday and Cyber Monday increase year on year, the phenomenon of frenzied festive discount shopping is growing exponentially. To move towards a more sustainable future, we need to change attitudes in order to positively impact the way we, as a global community, think and act; changing the way we shop is just one small factor in this.
So, how do we #TakeBackBlackFriday? Here are just a few ideas that you can join the movement throughout November, Black Friday (29th November) and Cyber Monday (2nd December).
Wear and share an item of clothing beyond #30Wears
Revisit the clothes you already own and wear something that’s been at the back of your wardrobe for a while. Experiment with ways to restyle it, and share your creative handiwork with our community using social media for good on Black Friday. Snap, post and tag #TakeBackBlackFriday, @EcoAge and @GlobalFashionExchange so we can share too!
Arrange or attend a clothes swap
If you’re tired of your current wardrobe, a clothes swap is a fun and social way to give it an update. Get your friends together with items they no longer give enough love to and get them swapping and sharing. Global Fashion Exchange’s toolkit is everything you need to put your swap together.
Hold a screening of The True Cost
If you’ve not yet watched The True Cost movie, put this to the top of your November to-do list. If you haven’t seen it for a while, hold a screening with friends or family who may not have seen this powerful documentary. If you’re at school or university, why not ask your institute to help arrange a screening?
Rent your wardrobe
Rental platforms are the new kid-on-the-block for sustainable fashion. If you’ve already joined one, upload a few more pieces to the platform or arrange a rental over the Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend, so you can protest in style.
Buy local or second-hand
If an all-out ban on buying isn’t an option, swap megastores and .com deals for your local high street, second-hand or vintage shop. Look up a few treasure troves in your neighbourhood and spend twenty minutes browsing instead of scrolling.
Join the digital protest
For many of us, the most powerful communication tools are at our fingertips. Use your platforms to spread the word and encourage your networks and communities to #TakeBackBlackFriday too. Share the Eco-Age and Global Fashion Exchange assets, or create your own – just be sure to tag us so we can share and amplify your message too.
Stay tuned for more updates over the next three weeks!