There are just nine days to go until the Black Friday shopping extravaganza gets underway on Friday November 29th and, while the event is expected to be as busy as ever, several hundred clothing brands are calling on consumers to not take part.
More than 300 clothing brands have joined forces in a movement called “Make Friday Green Again”, arguing that discount deals encourage consumers to buy goods they don’t need and that unsustainable behaviour worsens climate change.
The collective, which includes brands such as Bergamotte, Emoi Emoi, Jimmy Fairly, Manfield and Tediber, largely come from France where American-inspired Black Friday took some time to take off. And it intends to boycott the event.
Nicolas Rohr, the co-founder of Faguo, an eco-friendly clothing company, started the movement and he told the BBC about its rationale.
“When people buy something, we pollute because of the carbon emissions that come from making that product, from using it and then getting rid of that product,” he said.
“Today we don’t buy what we need; we buy because we are tempted,” he added. “We are not in a good relationship with consumption any more. We want people to focus on what they already have in their wardrobes, then, if you really need something more, you can buy it.”
He received partial backing from Dr Patsy Perry, a senior lecturer in fashion marketing at the University of Manchester, who said: “[Black Friday] is a great time to take advantage of discounts but it goes against what we’re trying to do with sustainability.
“On the one hand, retailers are increasingly talking about sustainability now and all the good stuff they’re doing but, on the other hand, it feels like they’re encouraging people to keep buying more stuff.”
She added: “Deep discounts communicate something to the consumer in terms of what that product is worth. I think, increasingly, we’ll see more businesses saying they don’t want to be part of this.”
However, not surprisingly, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) trade body hit back, arguing that Black Friday allowed consumers to buy products they might not otherwise be able to afford.
“Involvement ... is a commercial decision by retailers. Such sales allow consumers to access many goods they might not otherwise be able to afford, particularly with Christmas around the corner,” said Helen Dickinson, the BRC’s chief executive.
“After a year of stagnant sales, many retailers will be looking for Black Friday to give a welcome boost as they enter the ‘golden quarter’ of retail.”
Sourced from BBC; additional content by WARC staff