As Black Friday and Christmas approaches, I often feel like my eco-anxiety is at an all-time high. Black Friday started as one day in the year, it’s since then become a week and this year I heard a term that sent me reeling: Black November. Yes, indeed it’s getting very dark. Still, a glimmer of hope always catches my eye and this time, it’s called anti-black Friday. It got me thinking: how does sustainable fashion pop up culture in London fight the ginormous consumer monster that is Black Friday or dare I say it – Black November. Read on for events and thoughts that will lift your mood this Black Friday season.
WTF is Black November
Just when you think consumers and corporations are getting the message about sustainable fashion, they do something that makes you feel like we’re taken 200 steps backward. This time, it’s black November. Thankfully, black November is not an actual thing…yet. Google it and you’ll land on a Nigerian movie with the same name and that’s about it. However, being in retail I’ve heard the term whispered in corridors and meetings – it’s almost like a looming monster that’s coming but we don’t know quite when. I’ve always wondered how an American tradition made its way across the pond and then it hit me…any excuse to increase profit through reckless consumerism is a go for corporations. Black Friday started as a simple pedestrian phenomenon – the term originated in Philadelphia, where it was used to describe the heavy and disruptive pedestrian and vehicle traffic that would occur on the day after Thanksgiving. It’s now defined as a shopping holiday…but, wait, wouldn’t a shopping holiday mean taking a “holiday” from shopping, as in a break? Lord, knows we all need a break from shopping and rather need a time to reflect on the state of the world. From climate change to shady politicians, the world is full of problems to solve that don’t require shopping.
I often imagine a world, where instead of Black Friday we have a shopping holiday which means stores close and we don’t shop. Similar to Black Friday, I’d love it if that started with just a day and over time turned into a week of no shopping and then a month we would call Bright November because we spend a month doing bright things instead of shopping…those days may just be around the corner. Starting with an initiative called #whitemonday2019 - a non-profit initiative promoting circular consumption. It's just one of many ways the sustainable fashion community is fighting back!
Sustainable fashion fights back
Heard of Anti-Black Friday? Yes, some sensible individuals have noticed the madness of Black Friday and have decided to do something about it. Anti-Black Friday started in Canada back in 1992 with a simple movement called “Buy Nothing Day”. Now over 60 countries worldwide participate including the UK. Back in 1992, the event involved people doing sit-ins, cutting up credit cards and public protests. In London last year, sustainable and ethical brands came together to create pop-ups to educate the public about the failings of fast-fashion and alternative brands or lifestyles people can turn to. It’s always a bit of a conundrum, because how effective is it to say you are anti-black Friday but then turn around to create a pop-up shop also selling clothes? The big difference is that there are often no discounts on these items and the point is to spend reasonably with the idea of long-term use. My favorite event during Black Friday? The Lone Design Club Fuck Black Friday Concept Store. But fear not, there are more events like it...
Where to go when you don’t want to be on Oxford Street
Trying to avoid the Black Friday Mania is never easy because it’s EVERYWHERE! (Trust me I work in retail). There are a few havens you can delve into though. Check them out:
Lone Design Club Fuck Black Friday Events
From November 18th to December 1st Lone Design Club is inviting us to put “our middle fingers in the air to fast fashion” to educate the masses and spread the word about sustainable fashion. How good does that sound?
HURR-y to this luxury clothes rental pop up
It's getting to Christmas and we all need a celebratory outfit but don't fall for the idea that you need something brand new to stand out. How do you look like a million bucks without breaking the bank during Christmas? Rent a designer outfit from HURR! They have a pop-up store is happening until 29th November on Elizabeth Street in London, they're also having a bunch of events that are worth checking out.
More info here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/hurr-collective-26827457797
Joa Fashion Made Local is hosting an event where you can get clothes repaired for just £5. No need to buy a new piece, what you already have is wonderful and it knows you so well...if it just needs mending this is the place to take it.
Landfills are NOT cool
Love not landfill organises events throughout the year and have a pop up in November with lots of fun things to do. Love Not Landfill is a campaign that wants to encourage Londoners to donate their unwanted clothes to charity, put them in clothes banks, swap them, borrow them and buy second-hand.
Check them out here: https://www.lovenotlandfill.org/
Go for Fashion that cares
is a community centred around a passion for exposing fast fashion and coming together to contribute to a fashion industry that cares. They are hosting a free event Wednesday 27th November to gather people passionate about changing the fashion industry and discuss how to make the change happen.