Black Friday is one of the most hotly anticipated shopping events of the year, for both brands and consumers.
Many businesses, whether small or large, make a large percentage of their profits during the last few months of the year thanks to Christmas and sales season.
While the Boxing Day sales were previously the most exciting sales time of the year, Black Friday has now topped it as the biggest sale holiday in the UK, even though it was only introduced in the country in 2010.
Every last Friday of November (or in the US, the Friday after Thanksgiving), many brands — from fashion to tech — offer deals and discounts of up to 70%. Pretty Little Thing offered 99% off last year, but that’s another story.
However there are many brands that opt not to take part in Black Friday due to the negative impact it has on the planet and the unfair treatment of garment workers in the process of manufacturing these products.
Some of them don’t offer any type of sales at all, while others do but promise to donate 100% of their sales to charity instead.
There are also those brands that simply stick to Boxing Day to offer discounts, while others see it more as an opportunity to highlight environmental issues and call for a more mindful way of shopping – something we can all get behind.
While it’s a common belief that you get great deals during Black Friday, some brands actually raise their prices — but for a good cause.
Sneaker brand Allbirds, for instance, raised the prices of its products by $1 last year. They allotted the extra money to support Fridays for Future, the climate movement founded by Greta Thunberg.
If you’re curious to know if your favourite’s part of the non-participating crowd, keep reading.
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Which brands don’t take part in Black Friday?
Amongst some of the most popular brands boycotting Black Friday include Arket, Ganni, Monki and sustainable shoe brand Veja.
Monki, which is owned by the H&M Group, wrote on its Instagram today, “Dear Monki friends. In 2019, we said bye-bye to Black Friday. To continue being relevant to you – our amazing community – this year won’t be any different. This means that for the third year in a row, Monki will not have any Black Friday deals. You will be able to visit our stores and monki.com as usual. Love, Monki”.
Meanwhile sustainable label Alohas has this year decided to offer ‘on demand’ discounts rather than taking part in Black Friday, offering 30% off on their gorgeous footwear and clothing to encourage ‘intentional purchases’ rather in those made on impulse.
Others not taking part include Patagonia, Everlane, REI, STATE, Cuyana, Public Fibre and GiffGaff.
How to shop Black Friday sustainably
Instead of buying from fast fashion brands this Black Friday, consider alternatives. Surprisingly, there’s still plenty of ways to get the same rush as shopping the sales but doing so a little more ethically this year.
For example, you can upload your old clothes to clothes swapping app Nuw and receive tokens back. These can then be used to ‘shop’ second hand clothing. One person’s trash is another’s treasure, as they say.
While the brands don’t appear to be participating in Black Friday, you’ll receive an item made with love that will last forever, while supporting a small business too.
You could also opt instead to rent clothing this Black Friday. Monthly clothing rental subscription service The Devout is offering a month’s box for £20 using the code BLACKFRIDAY21. As someone who’s tried it out, I can’t recommend it enough.
Hurr, an online clothing rental site, is offering 25% off their Depop too, with brands such as Lisou London, Kai Collective and Stand Studio.
Which countries don’t take part in Black Friday?
While the US famously celebrates the shopping holiday like no other country, there are also those who choose not to get involved.
Many countries that oppose capitalism and consumerism such as North Korea, Iran and Afghanistan don’t take part, while Bangladesh holds protests opposing the huge demand placed on them due to the holiday. Many garments from huge retailers are made in Bangladesh.
Why is Black Friday called black?
A common misconception is that the name Black Friday comes from the idea that businesses go from making financial losses and being ‘in the red,’ to turning over profit and being ‘in the black’ following the day.
However according to Britannica, this isn’t factually true. They report that the name dates back to the 1960s, when tourists would visit Philadelphia to do their holiday shopping and occasionally attend an annual Army-Navy football game.
Police officers would work long shifts and be forced to deal with shoplifting, accidents and more trouble, so they began calling the day ‘Black Friday’.