Eight brands that are making a positive impact this Black Friday
The Anti-Black Friday movement is growing in popularity with independents who are choosing to rebrand the upcoming weekend shopping event as Green or Giving Friday.
A notable example of this trend from last year was sustainable footwear brand Allbirds calling for shoppers to “break tradition, not the planet”, raising product prices by £1 with proceeds donated to Fridays For Future.
It was not the only brand asking consumers to re-evaluate the yearly shopping event and this year attitudes have significantly shifted even further with about 85% of independent retailers choosing to opt out completely according to figures by the British Independent Retailers Association.
Meanwhile overall appetite by consumers has also decreased according to research by shopping comparison site Finder.com, which predicts that this year Brits will spend £1.2 billion less on the Black Friday weekend.
From calling out overconsumption, donating to charities or emphasising mental health, this year a host of independent brands and retailers have chosen to emphasise positive impact instead of steep discounts.
Read about eight brands and how they are going to break tradition this Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend, from the 26 – 29 November, below.
For the fifth year running Swedish fashion label ASKET will close down its online store and physical retail outlet as part of its “Out of Home” campaign. This will be accompanied by a video showing the chaotic scenes of past Black Friday’s it wants to encourage customers to reflect on the frenzied over-consumption the upcoming weekend encourages.
Co-founder August Bard-Bringeus commented: “While other brands and retailers kickstart their biggest shopping weekend of the year through cheap sales tricks and extensive discounting, we’re instead making a statement against a culture that encourages relentless buying – when in reality we already have enough.”
Dutch outerwear brand Maium is shutting down its online store and hosting a “tranquil rain centred meditation session” instead. By going offline, the brand hopes to encourage customers to take ten minutes out of their day to relax instead of shopping.
The brand commented: "There is no fear of missing out on Maium sales, as we don’t participate in fast, cheap and more, more, more consumerism. Instead of buying a coat, invest in yourself, take a break from shopping and allow yourself ten minutes to relax through this guided meditation. Take the day off, so will we."
No One True Anything:
Sustainable streetwear label No One True Anything spoke out against the over consumption that heavy discounting encourages. Instead of discounting products, it is donating 30% of all items sold over the Black Friday weekend to the Friends of the Earth charity.
“In my opinion, Black Friday not only creates over consumption and encourages purchases that probably are not needed, but further highlights cheap, mass-produced, poorly made garments, while having a huge impact on the environment,” said founder Jake Posner.
House of Baukjen:
Fashion B Corp label House of Baukjen, which comprises the premium brands Baukjen and Isabella Oliver, decided to “swap deals for donations” this weekend and will split 100% of its profits between two charities, the World Land Trust which focuses on international conservation and Strut Safe, a free phone service designed to help keep women safe at night.
Creative Director and Co-Founder Baukjen de Swaan Arons commented: “As a leader in sustainability, we must stay true to our brand values. We don’t feel its right to participate and encourage overconsumption; it goes against what we stand for. Instead, we want to give back and really make a difference. As a business we want to do our very best for people and the planet, so we’ve partnered with charities that we are truly passionate about.”
The Nottingham-based vegan fashion label is also embracing Giving Friday, with 5% of profits generated between 25 November to 9 December to mental health charity Young Minds.
Founder Yen Wei Goo commented: “I chose the charity Young Minds because there are so many young people dealing with mental health issues such as anxiety, fear, and anger because of what has happened. Young people are the future, so I hope this donation will help more young people get the support they need so they have the chance to recover and enjoy a bright future.”
Cornwall-based sustainable outdoor brand Finisterre will be donating £2.50 from every purchase over the Black Friday weekend to the ’The Wetsuit Project’, the inaugural initiative of its newly-launched foundation. The project aims to allow everyone access to the ocean and its transformative power by providing alterations on wetsuits. To illustrate the impact of the project it created a film called “The Freedom It Gives Me” featuring Cornwall native Andrew Birkett, who suffers from cerebral palsy and found it difficult to put on wetsuits.
Tom Kay, Director of the Finisterre Foundation said: “Making Andrew’s film it really dawned on me how, for so many people, wetsuits are a barrier to getting in the sea. So, I’m incredibly proud to be doing something about this by supporting the Finisterre Foundation Wetsuit Project this Blue Friday; funding the adaption of any wetsuit in the hope of making a big and immediate difference to people’s ability to get in the sea. I cannot wait to see how it goes, and who knows, maybe the industry will take notice and do something too…”
Lone Design Club:
Independent retailer Lone Design Club (LDC) decided to shed “light on the injustice of Black Friday within the fashion industry” by launching an anti-Black Friday event at its Stoke Newington pop-up and Leeds store. Over the weekend it will host events, workshops and panel discussions, as well as an in-house alternation station in partnership with The Seam.
“We are proudly #ANTI Black Friday because we believe that nothing is worse than mass discounting. From the pressure that it puts on supply chains, the encouragement of overproduction and unnecessary consumption >> this needs to end – NOW,” LDC commented.
The sustainable jewellery brand will donate 15% of all itsprofits from in-store and online purchases over the four-day weekend (26 to 29 November) to national charity for the homeless, Crisis.
While many other luxury and high street brands offer percentages off stock, the brand's Founder Matilde Mourinho, have decided to go against the aggressive discounting this year, boycotting the mass-consumerism in a bid to support those in need.
"It only seemed natural in the progression of Matilde Jewellery that I offer a percentage of profits to Crisis," she said. "The non-for-profit organisation helps support people facing homelessness across Britain and in a time like no other, they need our help."
Since launching in 2020, Matilde Jewellery has also partnered with Plan International for the brands exclusive International Women’s Day "Deusa" Ring and Rainforest Alliance on the "Terra" Necklace for World Earth Day in its philanthropic endeavours. Fans of the brand are able to shop at its online store and at the London seasonal store on 34 Great Windmill Street, which takes residence until 24 December.