The biggest retail event of the calendar year, Black Friday, kicks off on November 27, but for a growing number of Aussie brands, the mammoth sale is a call for action to build a more sustainable future for fashion.
Retail spending during the mega-sale this year is set to surge. Last year, Black Friday in Australia saw spending jump 87% compared to the previous three weeks, and spending in department stores and on electronic goods rose 238%, according to CBA data.
But where some brands are slashing prices early, others are using the hype to highlight the fashion industry’s toll on the environment.
Zoltan Csaki, the co-founder of Sydney-based label Citizen Wolf, is one such entrepreneur. He has launched Black Fridye, a movement with a mission to piggyback on Black Friday by calling on consumers to redye their garments black to give them a second life.
“Black Fridye delivers the same dopamine hit as hauling something on discount, but with 95% less carbon,” Csaki said in a statement.
Zoltan’s movement is intended to remind consumers that the fashion industry’s carbon emissions are forecast to rise 50% in the coming decade, as billions of additional garments are made every year.
“The average Aussie landfills 23kg of textiles per year and wears only about 33% of their wardrobe,” Csaki said.
“What started two years ago with a single email to the Citizen Wolf database has grown into a multi-industry coalition of over 20 brands with a collective ambition to elevate the sustainability discussion during the biggest — and most mindless — sales event of the retail calendar,” he said.
The movement has a strong track record. Last year, it reportedly saved 594,00 litres of water — the equivalent of nine backyard swimming pools — compared to ‘virgin’ clothing production.
Black Fridye 2020 will see 23 brands come together — from fashion labels Nique and Arnsdorf, to beer brand Hawke’s Brewing Co, and designers For Good Design Lab.
Meanwhile, other Aussie businesses, including luxury streetwear label PYRA and kids clothing label Goldie + Ace, are independently protesting the consumerism frenzy by stopping online sales or not participating in the event.
“We will not be participating in any Black Friday sales this year and our webstore will be closed for five days,” PYRA said in a statement.
Melbourne-based children’s wear brand Goldie + Ace announced it is opting out of Black Friday, saying the event is against its core values for “slow, steady and sustainable fashion”.
“We feel as though this sale, in particular, has too strong a focus on panic-buying and overconsumption that promotes the continuation of fast fashion which has a huge effect on our small business community and our planet,” Goldie + Ace said on Instagram.
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