BLACK FRIDAY : fair brands which are giving back
There is something which doesn't sit right with us anymore about the notion of mass-market-pushed Super Sales, like Black Friday, Cyber Monday and even the Boxing Day sales.
Because at heart, the goal is to purchase as much as possible for as little as possible. And while that sounds like a good way to get a bargain, we have to ask ourselves is this what Fair Fashion, and Conscious Consumerism, is supposed to be about?
Wouldn't it be better for our wallets, the producers, future generations and the planet if we actually bought what we need, when we need it, and paid the proper price to do so?
With that uppermost in mind, we set to hunting out brands which are doing something more this super sale weekend - brands which are challenging the status quo and focussing on giving back. Yep, that's a risky thing for them to do: after all, they are in the business of selling products, but ultimately, they are setting themselves apart as brands that are at the forefront of the new retail market: the ethical fashion brand genre.
So here's our roundup of some of the more fashion-forward brands (pun intended) offering something more meaningful this weekend.
1: Bead & Reel + MadeFAIR
On Nov 25, both the Bead & Reel and MadeFAIR websites will redirect to ethicalblackfriday.com, where customers can purchase one item only, an ethically handmade scarf. Half of the income from the Linda Scarf will then be donated to the Dressember Foundation, an initiative to empower women who have been exploited.
We love this idea - it's fresh and thoughtful and we applaud both boutiques for this endeavour.
100% of sales (not just profits, but 100% of sales) on Black Friday at Patagonia will be donated to grassroots organisations with a focus on environmental care.
That's an extraordinary gesture. (Patagonia already donate 1% of all sales profits to nonprofit environmental groups, as part of their commitment to 1% For the Planet, for everyday sales.)
Sales include in store and online at patagonia.com
3: Soma water bottles
On Black Friday, the Soma website will not have any of their rather gorgeous water bottles for sale. Instead, the site will redirect to its charity partner Charity Water, a non-profit organisation providing safe water to people in developing countries. Customers are encouraged to purchase a gift of clean water for those who don't otherwise have access to it.
Soma already have a good track record as a give-back company: for every water bottle purchased on any normal day, they donate part of the proceeds to Charity Water. The bottles are made from glass, with a natural bamboo lid and soft silicone outer sleeve, so they tick the box for thoughtful materials too. And did we mention how stylish they are?
4: Giving Tuesday
Founded as a global movement in 2012 to focus on "giving" on the Tuesday after Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the US celebration of Thanksgiving, #GivingTuesday refers not just to brands giving back, but also the general concept of all of us giving back to the community in which we live.
This November 29, many brands, non-profits and organisations will join in with their own regional versions of generosity. From fund raisers to community awareness, tree planting and companies doubling the donations of their employees to registered charities, there's an enormous variety of ways to give back.
5: Avoid Black Friday and shop #FairTuesday instead.
Fair Tuesday was dreamt up as a reaction to the unconscious consumerism behaviour of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The point is to support smaller, ethical & give-back brands literally on the Tuesday following the massive shopping events.
6: Buy what you need, when you need it, from ethical brands.
If one is going to be shopping this weekend, we're all for supporting more ethical brands. But we actually prefer the idea that we make a conscious decision to shop from these brands when the need arises to purchase goods when we actually need stuff, rather than buying loads of stuff we probably don't need on a specific weekend - just for the sake of a bargain.
And if you're hunting for ethical brands, our page of ethical brands is constantly growing as more and more consumers are supporting them - which is exciting. You can see our list of ethical brands here.