Let's explore both sides of the discounting-frenzy coin.
A week has passed, the Black Friday and Cyber Monday rush has been and gone with a welcome surge in pre-Christmas gift shopping and impulse buying giving a much-needed lift to retail, keeping the brands we know and love afloat this December with generous discounts.
Aside from the initial dopamine hit of finding a glorious bargain, Black Friday has the side effect of encouraging mindless consumption at mass, promoting purchases which may not have bought at full price or actually featured at all in the long run. And this is before we talk about the prices to which brands lower product and the unseen knock-on effects this may have for the workers who manufacture the goods, whose pay may already be dangerously low.
Although it would be tempting for labels to gloss over the environmental impact that Black Friday inflicts, in favour of the much needed post-lockdown revenue it brings, some brands have stuck to their strong sustainability messages despite the challenges of 2020 and we applaud them.
When it comes to going against the grain, Raeburn is leading the charge and this year they have joined forces with Claire Press, Eco Alf's Founder Javier Goyeneche and Fashion Revolution’s Co-Founder Orsola de Casto, to get together and brainstorm the problems and the solutions in relation to Black Friday.
The webinar discussion is called, “Voices United for a Planet Beyond Next Season”, and can be watched through this link if you missed it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0OH-bkPg6eA
Christopher Raeburn has been campaigning for an alternative to the sale seasons for years and 2020 has been no different. He has been asking customers to 'Buy Nothing, Repair Something' since 2019. The environmentally driven brand temporarily shuts up shop on Black Friday and instead offers free alterations for pre-worn items purchased from any brand to extend the lifetime of each piece of clothing.
Raeburn joins the well-known campaign from Patagonia,"Don't Buy This Jacket" in their mission to encourage customers to make their own decisions to buy, to consider their purchases, repair what their already own and to wear what they buy for years to come.
2020 has seen many more brands innovating and boycotting the famous discount day. Zurich-based commuter bag brand, Freitag introduced their S.W.A.P Initiative, encouraging customers to swap their used bags with each other, asking '100% off, Don't shop, just S.W.A.P.' Meanwhile, leading sneaker brand Allbirds increased prices by $1, and with another dollar matched by the brand, they will be donating the proceeds to Fridays For Future, the youth-led international climate movement founded by Climate Activist Greta Thunberg.
As the discounts and campaigns screech to a close and the Christmas sales loom large on the horizon, the messages of the world's trailblazing brands still stand. They are encouraging us to consider the bigger picture when it comes to our protecting our planet and environment by reducing waste and landfill and to take stock of the power we have as consumers to purchase politically, urging us to re-wear and repair our wardrobes.