Are you Black Friday Brainwashed? | Stop before you shop


November has come around and already the big fast-fashion brands have started their Black Friday sales. Black Friday is notorious for promoting over-consumption and needless spending but in the current climate state, how can we tackle this weekend with an eco-friendly conscience? 

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The statistics from recent Black Fridays are staggering. In Ireland alone, in 2021 AIB released data stating that €25K was spent per minute from account holders with €8k of that being on clothes. In the UK, £9.42 billion was spent over Black Friday weekend and Cyber Monday with the US totalling $19.8 billion over the weekend. Now, people are free to spend their money however they choose, we all work hard and we all deserve to treat ourselves or others, or get a good deal on Christmas presents however, do we do this with an environmental consciousness? 
Every year 100 billion tonnes of clothes are produced with 73% going to landfill and only 1% being up-cycled into new garments. This is according to, a website that promotes sustainability and shines an interesting light on the greenwashing-ways of the larger fast-fashion conglomerates. So, out of the €8,000 per minute spent on clothes here in Ireland, only 1% of this has been sustainably up-cycled or recycled from previous garments. 
The question then remains; do we need these clothes? Black Friday and Cyber weekend seem to be used as a mechanism for people to mindlessly overconsume items we don't need or probably wouldn't even want at full price, purely because of their cheaper. In 2020, Pretty Little Thing took over their social media with their 99% off sale. I saw tweets and comments from people saying that they had gotten 20 items for under €5. Shein, another relentless monster, advertised similar prices which had women and girls grabbing as much as they could as if their lives depended on it. Taking these two brands, both of whom have faced major public backlash due to their working conditions and treatment of their workers, still continue to be supported by the masses for their ill-quality, unethically and unsustainably made clothes due to their ridiculously cheap prices over this weekend. One must take a step back and think about who and what we are supporting.
To go another step further, Black Friday is also a huge opportunity for 'influencers' to make bank on promo-codes and advertisements. Understandably we all need to hustle to make money these days but I plead with any and all influences to also think about who and what you are endorsing. Are they selling their souls to the devil or is the environment and moral working conditions of people just not on their radar? Perhaps, ditch Shein, PLT, Boohoo and ASOS, all of whom have been publicly exposed for their pollution and misleading greenwashing and support smaller, local or sustainably run businesses this Black Friday weekend. We need to promote environmental consciousness and encourage followers to think green. 
However, there are good sides to Black Friday too. It is a great way to save and get all your Christmas shopping done early and cheaply. If you had your eye on something, it's nice to get a good bargain. I myself will be shopping for presents and maybe a thing or too for myself, but I will do this through a critical lens looking at who I'm supporting and this can make all the difference. The Arab billionaire who owns these companies will still be a billionaire even if he doesn't get your €50. So, lets tackle this weekend with a new outlook. Let's get our bargains but in a more satisfying way. There's nothing better than a good bargain and it makes it just that bit sweeter to know that it's sustainable.

*Highlight Image: © Xiaolong Wong



+  Words:
Tara Finn
Luxiders Magazine Collaborator