Black Friday – an important announcement
We want to inform you, that we WILL NOT be taking part in Black Friday.
Below is a little about information about how and why we came to this decision, which may make you think about it in a different way.
We always felt uncomfortable about BF, especially the developments over the last few years:
- Black “Friday” grew into Black “Weekend”
- which grew to Black “Week”
- which grew into Black “Month”
- and this year in October, we received an email from a company offering Black Friday-“pre-month” sales.
- What's next? Black "Year”?!?
So, we wanted to know your opinion and asked for feedback via our newsletter – the response was clear and what we felt all along – “of course we like sales but don’t agree with what Black Friday stands for and where it’s going”.
Why is Black Friday so bad for our industry and environment?
- Increase in returns: lots of consumers around this day buy simply because of the discount, and after receiving the goods, decide they don't actually need/want them and decide to return. Unnecessary returns use valuable resources and damage the environment, as well as many returns from bigger retailers, simply going into landfill (it's cheaper for them than checking the product and packaging and returning into stock). This goes against what we stand for. Returns rates for fashion industry are on average around 15-20% - this jumps to over 50% for Black Friday purchases. Unnecessary returns damage the environment and uses precious resources – it’s been said around 4-5% of all global greenhouse gas emissions are due to returns!
- There have been studies to show, that around 50% of our wardrobes are never or only occasionally worn. In Germany there are around 5 billion items of clothing in wardrobes, and around 2 billion of those are “never” or “rarely” worn (that’s around 25 for every single person in Germany!). In UK alone, there is 10 BILLION pounds! worth of unworn clothes in wardrobes, and in Germany at least 2 BILLION pieces of clothing are classified as unworn
- These kind of events lead to senseless overproduction, to get cheaper production prices, which allows manufacturers to sell for “dumping” price. With lower production prices their initial profits are higher, and it doesn’t matter how much they discount them, they always have a profit.
- This (cheap) overproduction uses precious resources, exploits and pollutes, communities, and makes it more difficult and expensive for small labels to get hold of materials. To get even lower production prices, they produce in cheap factories in countries like Bangladesh, India, China, the factories having notoriously bad reputations in human rights and environmental safety and awareness. Primark recently said, despite rising global prices in materials, fuel, energy, transport they are not raising their prices. How is that possible? Two options: a reduction in their profits (hmmm?) or pushing the labour element of the production price even lower.
- Small businesses feel they have to be “in it to win it”, but the big ones are those who profit the most. Higher return rates cost small businesses more. Big companies offer free shipping and free returns because it costs them less: high volumes get them a better deal with the shipping companies. Small businesses don’t have these volumes and to process and repackage up to 50% return rates also costs them proportionally more time and resources. If small businesses don’t take part, they fear that the customer will take their money (that they’ve not spent in October and November because were waiting for Black Friday) to a bigger company who are offering deals
- Retailers have been known to artificially increase prices by up to 20% at the start of the season, to plan for BF discounts and losses due to returns – this is insane and heartbreaking. Also, a number of famous studies have analysed big retailer’s product pricing over time and found that more than 90% of BF “deals” were the same price, or even less in a 6-month period the previous year
It's also about independence
In this industry, we're forced into rhythms and cycles of consumerism by the bigger companies, which have roots in selling more and more, and faster and faster.
We’re already always pushed to release our collections earlier (recently some brands have begun to release summer collections in December and we recently saw a brand "pre-release" (whatever that means) a Summer collection in November) as well as go into sales periods earlier. We don’t need another calendar entry that forces us to conform to the rhythm and dance to the drum of the big companies – it’s their rhythm and not ours!
Black Friday has broken sales for October and November – customers are waiting for the day and the inevitable sale! Wouldn't it be better for all of us to just have steady sales throughout October and November? Rather than all of October and November sales on one day (and then have a higher return rate because lots bought without actually wanting or needing the item?
We should be free to choose when we release collections, when we start sales and how much discount we offer – slow fashion and independent principle!
If you feel the same, similar, or if this has moved you in any way, all you have to do is think about how you react to this day/week/month and give it all the middle finger by simply choosing where (or where not!) to purchase, or not buying at all and using the money to spend time with your family, friends or loved ones. We promise you'll get more fulfillment out of that than the short-lived dopamine rush of the minus percentage sale sign. Sales and clothes will come and go, we only have one planet and those who are driving this BF bullshit don't seem to care too much about it, even though they all say that they do.
Actions speak louder than words. Give them the middle finger. Choose your own way.