Black Friday is the busiest shopping day of the year, it has even taken over Boxing Day sales. Many retailers and e-commerce sites run special promotions on the day or leading up to it. It originates from pre-Christmas stockpiling in America, which would turn the retailer’s balance sheets from red, a loss to black, a profit. But it gained momentum in the 1990s when it became a day of excessive consumerism that it is now. Originally the savings were so significant that it saw shoppers queue for hours or the night before the opening of the store. This has now expanded into digital sales and Cyber Monday.
In the last couple of years, many French environmentalists and organisations such as the Fashion Revolution have been petitioning to curb down Black Friday sales. Black Friday depends on stockpiling, mindless consumption, and buying for the sake of buying. It doesn’tfulfill any needs and the value of the product gets lost in the frenzied buying. To cater to the audience multiple corporates go into excessive production which puts a burden on their workers and the climate.
Behind the scenes of expedited shipping lies the increased amount of diesel trucks and polluting ships. Clothing trends soon fade and new products come in, leading to a cycle of never-ending purchasing. Producing “fast fashion” items is a hugely carbon-intensive process, and a significant amount of the Black Friday shopping ends up in landfills. Apart from synthetic clothing, smartphones and TVs are discarded, leading to 50 million tons of electronic waste each year, which leaks toxic chemicals like lead and mercury into the soil. Moreover, there is increased exploitation of both garment workers and supply chain workers during this period.
The whole business model creates more packages and delivery, it relies on temptation and our skewered relationship with consumption. The sales are deliberately for 24 hours or offering rare deals that make people go into a panic, what if they lose out on the said product that will bring them happiness. It’s important to change this dynamic and look at it through an environmental lens but also practically, many of these brands will still offer sales throughout the year. And, to consider where the product is coming from, its production process, if it’s organically made with a fair-trade manufacturing unit.
At ADAU, we promote considering the value of the clothing, and it’s longevity. Of investing in pieces that leave a minimal carbon footprint.This year, we are partnering with Fashion Revolution, to stop overproduction this Black Friday and Cyber Monday. They are working towards creating a systematic and structural change to curb environmental damage and the exploitation of fast-fashion workers. We are highlighting the journey of a fast-fashion product, depicting how it is treated and how fast-fashion is exploiting resources and creating tons of wastage.
Our story of TEE depicts the short journey of a t-shirt from its manufacturing to it being discarded and ending up at a landfill. We want to bring back value into the clothes we buy, and regard them as pieces to be taken care of and cherished for longer periods, beyond trends and seasons. Instead of taking markdowns, we will be donating a percentage of Black Friday weekend sales to the Fashion Revolution to help them continue campaigning for fair fashion industry. Let’s have a Sustainable Friday instead, and indulge in mindful purchasing rather than impulse buys.