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Move over Black Friday, it's Bye Buy Friday 2021

Kim 22 Nov 2021 Move over Black Friday, it's Bye Buy Friday 2021

This Friday, November 26th 2021, it’s Black Friday #ByeBuyFriday again. This is not a day of massive discounts. On the contrary. It is a day when we boldly ask you to fork over an extra 10%* on your order. ‘This Friday only, so don't miss your chance!’ Welcome to Bye Buy Friday, where we stand up against the massive Black Friday sales and bring you truly sensational prices towards a better world.

*We will double the extra proceeds of this day and these will of course not go into our own pockets – we’re donating it all to a good cause. One that, like us, believes in a global fashion industry that conserves and restores the environment, and values ​​people over growth and profit: Fashion Revolution. Read more about why we chose this non-profit to help in our shared fight against exploitation of people and the planet in the fashion industry. But first:
 

In this article:

  1. How did Bye Buy Friday come about?
  2. Why is this opposition to Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday so important?
  3. The impact of fast fashion, Covid-19 and Black Friday in numbers
  4. Why do the proceeds go to Fashion Revolution?
  5. What can you do?
  6. When affordable shopping on Black Friday is not a luxury
  7. Bye Buy Friday through the years


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A meme about Black Friday

How did Bye Buy Friday come about?

We had a heated discussion about Black Friday at the office last year because we were so completely fed up with all the aggressive end-of-year marketing. That in-your-face: "DON’T EVEN CONSIDER WHETHER YOU NEED THIS OR NOT, IT’S SUPER CHEAP SO BUY THIS NOW!" is everything the world doesn’t need. We simply have enough, it’s so unnecessary and damaging to get pushed to buy more stuff.

Not knowing whether to cry or laugh at a certain point, we decided it was time for a counter-campaign. We were brainstorming and asking ourselves how we could make an impact on that day too. And then it hit us.

Backwards and inside out

We decided to simply do the opposite of what the whole world would be doing that day. Not lowering our prices, but increasing them – by 10%. We decided to double the extra proceeds and donate the money to an initiative that has the platform to affect actual change.

Just as absurd as Black Friday, but then for the better.

And it was a hit.

We were flooded with positive messages and compliments for this cheeky campaign. It was the first time that our company took off in the press like that. Despite the higher prices, we even had a good turnover that day.

And with Mikaela Loach, our good cause from last year (more on that in a moment), we shared a heartwarming moment when we were able to send her the proceeds of the day. For her to use on the production of her podcast Yikes, to purchase more important books or whatever she should need to continue her impactful work.

Happy little hearts. So: we’re doing it again this year!

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I don't need it, I won't buy it.

Why #ByeBuyFriday? Why is this opposition to Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday so important?

You’ve heard us about this before. And we’ll keep on repeating it as long as it’s necessary.

Unethical and devastating

The damage – both social and environmental – caused by the fast fashion industry in general, and by the extreme and impossibly high discounts that dominate the end of November in particular, is enormous.

This is the reason why we now draw attention once again to our society’s impulsive buying behaviour, overproduction and throwaway culture that characterise this promotional period.

If you’re not financially dependant on these discounts: don’t go along with it

We urge everyone – consumers and companies – to not participate in Black Friday's sales as it is an implicit approval of a world where unrelenting overproduction and exploitation is acceptable. More on the hidden realities of this discount weekend below.

Instead, this day we invite everyone to buy even less than usual. And if you do buy something, then please do it the #ByeBuyFriday way, as a statement for the vegan, fair and sustainable world that we and possibly you too, believe in.

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Not shopping is free.


From overconsumption to more conscious buying and self-love

In Born to buy? From consumerism to slow fashion and self-love, teammates Polly and Anna explore why we as a society are so sensitive to discounts and purchases that we don't actually need. We spoke with experts like Marieke Eyskoot, Babette Porcelijn, Jonas Kooyman and Aja Barber about how we need less than we think, how we are fooled by companies to 'buy' ourselves some self-esteem and how this 'shaming' mechanism actually gets in the way of a sustainable lifestyle.

When these discounts are not an unnecessary luxury

Of course, Black Friday, Cyber ​​Monday and the entire weekend in between can be an important few days for people who don't have much to spend and can finally buy what they need thanks to the discount. We shouldn't be elitist about that. But that's usually not where the problem lies either.

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Clothes in landfill are eternal.
 

The impact of fast fashion, Covid-19 and Black Friday in numbers

A few of the most important facts:

  • On average, a whopping 169 people worked on each item of clothing that made it into your wardrobe.1 That many people are involved in the production chain: from the production of the raw materials, processing, production, design, distribution to sales and everything in between. If you look at it this way, it is unimaginable that you can get an entirely new winter outfit for 25 euros.
  • These fast fashion prices have encouraged overconsumption with a throwaway culture as a result. The average wardrobe consists of about 173 items, out of which no fewer than 50 haven’t even been worn in the past year.2 Meanwhile, we buy 46 more pieces every year and throw away 40. Each year 3 garments per person are destroyed even before they reach us. And even if they do: on average a fast fashion item is worn only 7 (!) times before it is thrown away.3
  • Considering the fact that 1 in 6 people worldwide work in the fashion industry,4 and only an estimated 2% (!) of the workers who make our clothes earn a living wage, it only gets more harrowing.5 It’s no coincidence that 80% of them are women. The garment workers too get Black Friday discounts by the way – on their salaries that is.
  • Covid-19 only amplifies these effects. Since the start of the pandemic, major fashion brands cancelled over $40 billion of finished and in-production orders of goods from factories and suppliers due to store closures and fear of loss of profits.6 Despite their position of power, they refused to pay large sums of money.
    • Factories were left footing huge unsold stocks and bills for materials, many had to close their doors.
    • Their workers were and still are unpaid for months, lost their jobs, had to actually take out loans and go into debt to afford basic needs such as food and housing – or do without.7 Meanwhile, during lockdown measures and unvaccinated (the Global North was given priority after all), they simply had to operate at full capacity in the garment factories6 to meet orders from brands and their customers headquartered in countries with high vaccination rates.
    • The hard truth is, no matter how unfair, unsafe, unfortunate and unhealthy the fashion industry often is – in the poorest of countries, millions of people and their families completely depend on it.
  • Last year the pandemic had an inhibiting effect on our buying behaviour around Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday.8 Unfortunately, that silver lining was short-lived. This year, Europe is more enthusiastic than ever to jump on the discount train, with Germany, the United Kingdom and Spain in the lead, closely followed by France and the Netherlands. Especially in these countries, people are planning to take full advantage of the massive discounts.9,10,11,12,13,14,15 But what are we actually participating in?
    • A day like Black Friday is the epitome of fashion's systemic overproduction problem. Brands get away with this wasteful business model, because cleverly marketed seasonal markdowns result in their customers helping them get rid of unsold items.
    • When we buy into these seemingly good deals, we're actually telling these brands that it's okay for them to ruthlessly overproduce at the expense of our fellow humans and Mama Earth, because we'll help them get rid of their stocks as long as they're heavily discounted. If we all refrain from buying discounted clothes, shoes and accessories, we can instead send the message that the true cost of their overproduction is actually way too high.
  • Meanwhile, the fashion industry ranks fourth in the list of the most significant negative environmental impacts of our consumption, right after housing, transport and food.16 (Only coming in eighth place in our household expenses. You do the math.)


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Comparing the salary of a garment worker and CEO of a fast fashion brand.

Why do the proceeds go to Fashion Revolution?

Founded in the wake of the Rana Plaza disaster in 2013, Fashion Revolution has become the world’s largest fashion activism movement, mobilising citizens, industry and policymakers through their research, education and advocacy work.

These changemakers are dead-on in the way they make a real difference culturally, within the industry and via policy change. Their sharp consumer campaigns that take people by the hand and provide the tools to help overthrow the fast fashion giants are very empowering. We ourselves regularly make use of their research.

Founders Carry Somers and Orsola de Castro and their team make the often overwhelming and disturbing facts about the clothing industry manageable and organise collective action within large groups of people who want to do better, but don't know how.

Fashion Revolution performs an incredible amount of research into the social and environmental impact of the global apparel industry — showing where and how change needs to happen. They influence brands and retailers through consumer pressure, do everything they can for greater transparency and accountability throughout the supply chain, and influence governments to take a more active role in better enforcing laws and regulating the industry.

With the proceeds of our own campaign, we are happy to contribute to their impactful, now global platform.

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Consumer voice does have power

What can you do?

Participate in this campaign!

Apart from joining us on Bye Buy Friday, what else can you do? Here’s a list of some impactful tips.

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In a world full of trends, remain an activist.

6 tips for sustainable shopping

As we always say: just shop compassionately. As little as possible. But always vegan, fair and as sustainable as possible. Unfortunately, that is not a given in today's world. Therefore, in our guide to ethical and sustainable shopping, we give you the (by now hopefully) well-known advice:

  1. Buy less, only when you really need something, and you know for sure that you will wear it for years to come. Remember that your most sustainable fashion item is the one that is already in your closet. Wear it as long as you can!
  2. If you do choose to buy something new, choose a brand that breathes ethics: that does not exploit people or other animals, operates in a more environmentally-friendly way and has adopted an inclusive and social attitude towards the world. Dare to research, dare to scrutinise and dare to ask: know where you’re putting your hard-earned money towards.
  3. No need for a brand new thing? Check whether you could buy it second-hand, borrow or trade it – and if you're looking for a one-night special occasion outfit only, try to rent it.
  4. Buy less, but better. Rather buy less for the same price, but with higher quality. Your cost per wear will not increase, usually, the exact opposite is true.
  5. Don't let yourself be driven by trends. Find your own style and build your wardrobe around it, creating a particular style of outfits that are easily matched and you’ll wear for years to come.
  6. Take better care of your clothes: wash them less often and go for a cold wash if possible, use a more sustainable detergent, opt for a clothesline instead of a dryer, and hang out your clothes in the steam of your bathroom to combat wrinkles and unpleasant odours of your clothes. And repair what can be repaired. How you handle your clothing has a huge impact on the environment – even bigger than production and distribution combined.

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Demand change

When affordable shopping on Black Friday is not a luxury

Of course, Black Friday, Cyber ​​Monday and the entire weekend in between can be an important few days for people who don't have much to spend and can finally buy what they need thanks to the heavy discounts. We shouldn't be elitist about that.

But that's usually not the problem. Is it really the ones struggling to get by that are shopping every weekend at H&M, Primark, Zara and Shein?

The problem of income inequality needs a different approach and solution. Black Friday is not the answer. However you manoeuvre through Black Friday, remember that it's important to slow down, scale back and most importantly that what you buy is really needed and will stay with you for a long time.

Back to you

If you still want to shop on Black Friday, then don't give in to the temptation of impulse buying. Instead – really not unlike any other day – buy something that you've already been wanting to buy for some time and actually need. Of course, if you don’t have as much to spend and you have waited until now because of affordability, we won’t get in your way.

However, don't get distracted buying things you really don't need. And if the price is too low and the deal seems too good to be true, then it probably is. If you don’t, it will be the farmers or factory workers, the industry’s animals and our planet who pay the price.

Bye Buy Friday through the years

Every time we organise Bye Buy Friday, we do things slightly differently. For example, we choose a new charity every year to allow the proceeds of this cheeky campaign to make all the impact they can have.

The first edition: 2020

This year we chose a charity that shares our values in the field of fair and more sustainable fashion, inclusivity within the environmental movement, animal rights and anti-racism: Mikaela Loach and her podcast called 'Yikes'. Before donating, we doubled the extra #ByeBuyFriday proceeds from November 27, 2020. Learn more about why we chose this special woman in particular to help in our shared fight against social injustice and definitely follow her on Instagram!

Glad that you’ve made it this far

Not done reading yet? As a goodbye for now, I can recommend you checking out The 2021 Guide to Sustainable Fashion one more time. Because:

Dress for the world you want.

Sources

1. 'Marieke Eyskoot - If Clothes could Talk.' TEDx Talks. 2011
2. 'Measuring The Dutch Clothing Mountain: Data for sustainability-oriented studies and actions in the apparel sector.' I. Maldini, L. Duncker, L. Bregman. 2017
3. 'The High Price of Fast Fashion.' D. Thomas. 2019
4. 'The Impact of Fast Fashion on Garment Workers.' J, McCosker. 2021
5. 'The True Cost.' 2015
6. 'The impact of Covid-19 on the people who make our clothes.' Fashion Revolution. n.d.
7. 'Fashion Transparency Index 2021.' Fashion Revolution. 2021
8. 'Total value of sales during Black Friday and Cyber Monday in selected European countries from 2018 to 2019, with a forecast for 2020.' Statista. 2020
9. 'Festive Predictions - 2021.' PWC. 2021
10. 'Share of Black Friday searches coming from selected countries as of September 2021.' Statista. 2021
11. 'Expected offline and online spend over Black Friday weekend in the United Kingdom (UK) in 2021 (in billion GBP), by day.' Statista. 2021
12. 'Value of spending over Black Friday weekend in the United Kingdom (UK) from 2016 to 2020, with a forecast for 2021.' Statista. 2021
13. 'Year-over-year (y-o-y) sales growth in Black Friday weekend in the United Kingdom (UK) from 2019 to 2020, with a forecast for 2021.' Statista. 2021
14. 'How much money are shoppers in Germany planning to spend on Black Friday?' Statista. 2021
15. 'Consumer likelihood to shop during Black Friday in France in 2021.' Statista. 2021
16. 'Mapping clothing impacts in Europe.' European Clothing Action Plan. 2017
17. 'The 2021 Guide To Sustainable Fashion.' Shop Like You Give a Damn. 2021