DETECTED : Black Friday Discounts can harm Decarbonization Progress

Bargains can be fun, I won't discount that (pun intended), but it's time we look at the long-term impact on our own happiness and beyond that.

Yes, I need to mention COP26 again to begin with #context

COP26 gave insight to how we are on our way to achieve a 2.4ºC increase (surpassing the 1.5ºC limit for a sustainable life on planet Earth). Code Red for Humanity, in the words of UN Secretary-General Antonio Gutierres.

The fashion industry is not innocent at all. Annually, it takes up nearly 10% of the global carbon budget and is on course to almost double its carbon emissions by 2030. 

No bueno! 

With the Pandemic came a significant increase in shopping online (be it out of convenience, be it for other reasons #marketingmadness).

Why does Black Friday play a key role in fashion business this year?

With brands having suffered major losses from overstock they couldn’t sell us, Black Friday offers a different setting and a second chance of squeezing some hard earned (crypto) currencies out of the customers’ pockets.

Circular Monday

This Monday is called Circular Monday by a Swedish NGO, in reply to the Black Friday and Cyber Monday craze we have coming next. Time to rethink what we buy, and prolong the lives of the garments, shoes, and accessories we have already. 

My newsletters serve to empower you with insights that brands will never share with you as it harms their brand. As I’m independent (Okay I do have a brand but it doesn’t compare to current fashion at all. Anyway…), I gladly share these secrets as well as assumptions that I articulate based on my ongoing investigations into supply chains.

Let’s start with a few myths. 

Myths about Discounted Goods 

Allow me to debunk one of my favorite myths, which is : 

MYTH #1 : You pay much less for the exact same quality of the branded good

Are brands saints? Do they have cash in excess so they sell you a product for less but of the exact same quality that customers in their shops purchased? I’m sorry to break this to you, but they are no saints and do not have cash to flash. 

There is an incredibly revealing documentary by Refinery29 on YouTube that compares “outlet vs. retail” quality of a particular design from a brand. 

MYTH #2 : Paying a discount on Black Friday will not negatively affect the wage of the garment workers.

Wrong. Think again. Black Friday is the time when a brand can make up for lost sales, which during these times many are certainly betting on (why else the sheer amount of ads?). There is a rule of thumb from Fashion Revolution that says it all : 

“Fast fashion is not free. Someone, somewhere is paying.”
In my translation : paying a discount, is possible as the brand you buy from discounts that payment for work of the garment workers, (and many other hands involved). 

My Secrets on Becoming Greenwashing-Immune

Apart from having had the COVID-vaccine (waiting for my booster shot now 🙂 ), I could use a vaccine against greenwashing.

I do believe I’ve become quite immune to sleazy marketing tactics targeted at the eco-conscious consumer, but here’s what I practice : 

  1. Look at your wardrobe. What do you have and why did you buy it? Bonus points for finding items you bought during a Black Friday sale and you never used it.
  2. Know your personal style. Bonus : no influencer can sell me anything if they do not look and live like me.
  3. I want proof. When a brand says this product is (100%) sustainable, then I need them to show me how they define sustainability, prove that no slave labor was involved, and proof of the materials being authentically sustainable (my rule : if there’s plastic in a garment, it can never be called sustainable).

Fashion industry : get your act together, the time for talking has surpassed 10 years and enough is enough. Luv u. Bye. 

Read more here 

A few fun resources to take a look at at your own convenience : 

I hope this has been helpful. As always, if you share your thoughts about what you like and what can be improved, I’d be grateful so I can keep tailoring this newsletter to your needs. Thanks in advance!

Marije de Roos
Founder at Positive Fibers

Marije de Roos is an independent circular fashion researcher, whose work at the intersection of science, design, and technology is directed towards creating a new paradigm for fashion. With a background as an economist, Marije specialises in interrogating the true state of sustainability, challenging brands to move beyond baseless sustainability statements, and empowering consumers to make better-informed choices. She is also a contributor to The Interline.