Black Friday has never had good optics. The very name conjures up mental images of maddened shoppers fighting for high definition TVs in supermarkets, those deranged ASOS shoppers who order 100 items only to return 50 of them, or the shudder inducing experience of walking through Oxford Street during Christmastime.
But there are an increasing number of brands turning Black Friday in on itself, fighting against the tradition which has felt like a simple fact of life for so long.
This year has seen a rise in the “reverse Black Friday campaign”, not only eschewing seasonal deals on the day, but giving back as well. Here are just some of the companies who have turned their back on Black Friday.
Womenswear brand Rixo is turning its back on Black Friday this year for the first time. Explaining that while they’ve had to previously get involved in the tradition due to increased stock levels during the pandemic, they’re officially calling time on it this year, because they can. “We have re-align with our values and won’t follow mass consumer trends and be forced into markdowns,” co-founders Henrietta Rix and Orlagh McCloskey said in a statement.
Instead, the brand is engaging in Giving Tuesday, the Black Friday alternative, where £15 per transaction will be donated to Women For Women International, a non-profit humanitarian organisation that supports female survivors of war and helps them learn marketable job skills to rebuild their lives.
The print on-demand platform Teemill, which allows users to select whatever design they want to be printed onto items of clothing and then sold in their own personalised store, is snubbing Black Friday in favour of “Take Back Friday” this year. Take Back Friday encourages people to return their old and worn out clothing to Teemill so it can be upcycled into new items of clothing, to help minimise mass production and fabric wasteage.
All Teemill products (t-shirts, hoodies, tracksuits) are designed to be remade, and even this clothing brand run by two 17-year-old boys from North West London, Seb Norman and Kas Kemakolam, is getting in on the scheme. If two teenagers who set up their own company can shun Black Friday, big corporations really have no excuse.
In the wake of a cost-of-living crisis Bleck Friday feels even more out of place than it did before, and Tesco isn’t shying away from that. Today, Tesco is hosting “The Give Back Express”, in partnership with FareShare and the Trussell Trust, where the supermarket will operate in reverse. With the charities expecting to provide food support to more than 1.2 million people this winter, Tesco is encouraging shoppers to turn up and buy for others this Black Friday, not themselves.
Shoppers will have a chance to buy from the 25 essential items most needed by the charities this winter, starting as low as 40p per item, which will then be donated on their behalf to the Trussell Trust and FareShare networks. And to add to that, Tesco will match the value of every donation made. You’ve got three days to take part in The Give Back Express, which is located on Poland Street in Soho.
In an alternative to Black Friday that many brands could learn from (while still being able to survive amongst the price drops of their competitors), Deciem is taking part in “Slow November” instead. For the fourth year in a row the beloved skincare brand behind everybody’s favourite The Ordinary is changing the Black Friday game by closing its stores and shutting down its website. If you attempt to buy, Deciem’s website will simply remind you: “Black Friday is known for encouraging impulse purchasing and hyper-consumption. Skincare needs consideration.” Firm but fair.
Instead, so they can still offer customers discounts without the mad fervor that Black Friday brings, they’ve been offering a 23 per cent discount on their products throughout November - not just for one day. Slowvember may just be the way forward.
Cult Mia, the marketplace for uber chic and uber extravagant independent brands, has partnered with preloved fashion platform Loop Generation to launch a ‘Zero Waste Black Friday’ sale this year, where buyers can get their hands on second-hand and archive items, essentially like a sample sale, so nothing goes to waste.
It’s running for four days, in person, from November 24 to 27 at Loop Generation’s store on Brompton Road in South Kensington, so you’ve got three more days to get down and check it out. Plus, Cult Mia will be donating a percentage of its proceeds to fund educational programmes at the Girls Out Loud organisation, a social enterprise aiming to raise the aspirations of teenage girls in the UK.
Cult Swedish brand Asket has been ahead of the anti-Black Friday curve for years, and is shutting down its stores and online shops today for the sixth year in a row. Their reasoning? “It’s our way of taking a firm stance against a day, that in our minds, only serves to encourage hyper-consumption,” says an Instagram post from Asket this morning, “Instead we encourage you to make the most out of the pieces you already own.”
Asket deliberately manufacture garments that “endure” and are made to last, and they even buy back old Asket items no matter what the quality, so they can mend them for resale, remake them or recycle them.