A warm welcome to our new subscribers. I hope you are enjoying the weekend.
Today we're taking a look at the biggest shopping event of the year, which is peering at us from around the corner: Black Friday (Friday, November 25th).
The traditional “Black Friday” vibe: big discounts
Reading up on the history of Black Friday, I realised that the phrase “Black + day of the week” tends to be associated with calamitous, usually stock-market related, events. We have, for example, Black Monday (1987, global), Black Wednesday (1992, UK), Black Thursday (1929, trigger of the Great Depression) and the original, non-shopping, Black Friday (1869, US). In Australia, where I grew up, Black Friday (1939) and Black Saturday (2009) refer to devastating bushfires.
When it comes to shopping and discounting however, the phrase "Black Friday" has been in use since 1951 and is associated with shopping frenzy and big discounts. Apparently in the early 1960s, a PR expert suggested the event be renamed “Big Friday” because of the sombre connotations. It didn't stick.
Growing up in Sydney in the '90s, the biggest shopping day of the year was always the “Boxing Day Sale”, and I understand this to also be the case in the UK. It seems that since the mid 2010s however, “Black Friday” deals have become increasingly common around the world. Wikipedia gives examples for Romania, India, Mexico, France, Germany, Australia and Switzerland, along with short references to the emergence of Black Friday campaigns in New Zealand, Norway, Costa Rica, Panama, Liechtenstein, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, The Netherlands, Latvia and many more.
Being on the selling side of the retail industry, it's been interesting to observe the tone of Black Friday this year: it's definitely in flux.
On one hand, from behind the scenes emails and conversations I've had with other brands and marketplaces, there's definitely a sense of FOMO from the retailer's point of view. As such, many companies are offering very early Black Friday deals, afraid, I guess, of missing out on spending from cash-strapped and stressed out consumers. Seen another way, this could be described as the “Black Friday Bloat”, in which the single day (Black Friday) has swelled to encompass the days and weeks either side.
On the other hand, I notice that more and more brands on my radar are opting out of Black-Friday type events. These companies are typically, although not exclusively, ethically- and/or sustainably-minded. Opting out of Black Friday is nothing new, of course (I feel like there have always been outdoor retailers who shut up shop and tell their customers and employees to “go out and enjoy nature”) but I feel like their numbers are slowly but surely swelling.
I agree with the writer of this article, who suggests that pure shopping events that encourage people to “BUY BUY BUY” aren't hitting the right notes with consumers these days. In part that may be because it's seen as tone deaf, given the increasingly tough economic conditions. But there's also the increasingly conscious consumer (especially Gen Z) who questions our consumer-based economy and its impact on human and animal welfare and, of course, the planet.
So… what is LUXTRA's stance on Black Friday?
We did have a sale recently, yes, so I'm not saying we're immune to the pressure to offer discounts, especially in uncertain times like these.
To mark Black Friday through to Cyber Monday (Fri 25 - Mon 28 November) however, we're not offering any discounts. Instead, as we did last year, we'll be donating 100% of profits from all sales to Collective Fashion Justice (CFJ), which is a grass-roots organisation that is, in their own words:
Working for a fashion system that upholds total ethics, by prioritising the life and wellbeing of our fellow animals, people and the planet we share.
I personally have a special connection to CFJ, about which I'll write next week. I also recently met with CFJ founder, Emma Håkansson, with whom we did an interview, which will also feature in next week's newsletter.
But now, it's time to leave you with a warm fuzzy…
Bindi picture of the week:
Helping my dad with the driving.
In the meantime, keep well.