• Ilay

Black Friday and Fast Fashion: a tragic love story?

Updated: Nov 28, 2019

With the holiday season approaching, some of us wait all year just to shop during this special time. You probably thought you had some time before the crazy Black Friday sales start, but NOPE, they already have.

While blindly awaiting and participating in this crazy sales season, a lot of us tend to forget the general implications this season has on companies, the environment and workers.

Don't get us wrong, we love a bargain, but we wanted to dive into some real issues that are the consequences of these events that affect the industry, and well... also affect our pockets.

So, take a deep breath and hold on to your wallet for dear life as we list 6 issues underlying the topics of Black Friday and Fast Fashion.

P.S If you are too lazy to read this whole article, we ALSO create a podcast you can listen to just below:)


1. What drives the urge to shop till you drop?

Consumer behaviour is driven from positive emotion. Our need to feel like we fit in, satisfied, and emotionally gratified from our already implemented expectations have not gone unnoticed from marketers and retailers, thus shopping was born. Think about it, the idea of saving is a kind of high for the majority of us. Buying something on sale feels ten times better than buying it for five dollars more right? And that is the major pull of Black Friday, they are pushing you to spend a lot more by making it seem like you are saving. You feel smart, savvy and on top of the world as you walk out of the store with the latest trends that were bought at half price.

We hate to be the bearer of bad news but you NEVER save money by spending it and TRUST we learned this the hard way (thank you Zara for robbing us of our money every Black Friday).

2. The speed of trends & their effect

The speed of ever changing trends, thanks to social media, has had an effect on our purchases. We want things faster than ever, but what are the consequences for the fast fashion industry? Clearly, even fast fashion giants are not fast enough anymore. To be honest, we can't keep up with all these hype trends without suffering from major FOMO.

H&M and Zara have fallen from their peak in 2015 and online-only e-commerce websites like ASOS,Missguided, and Boohoo are taking an increasingly larger market share because of traffic directed towards online social media platforms from millennials and Gen Zs. Within 24 hours of the start of Black Friday deals this past year only, online retailers sold over $5 billion, 16.9% more than the year before.

As proud millennials we can't help but support anything that can be purchased from the comfort of our couch as we binge watch Friends on Netflix, but we need y’all to slow down before we have a breakdown over all these trends.

3. Why is it the season most important for retailers

But are retailers relying too heavily on the holiday shopping season? It is a well-known fact that for some brands, the two months starting in November make the bulk of their sales for the whole year. What does it say about the brands themselves? Honestly, are they still hoping people will buy at full price when we have been well-accustomed to wait for sales?

4. Tactics & Anticipations created by retailers

What’s more, as if it was not enough to take out our wallets on the actual date of Black Friday, now we are bombarded with pre-Black Friday deals a month in advance. Call it the “next hot item” or a “special treat”, we are supposed to rush to the checkout with the impression of a big fat deal. Honestly, how desperate do you think we are?

We admit, sometimes very desperate indeed. But we see what you are trying to do and it’s starting to get annoying.

Essentially, retailers are digging their own grave - we are so used to buying everything on sale from you, so do you think we’ll ever buy full price again?

5. What Black Friday looks like on a luxury level and how it’s different from normal black Friday sales

Three weeks before the 29th of November (the date of Black Friday) we started receiving notifications from luxury online retailers like Farfetch telling us about ‘pre-Black Friday treats’. And indeed they were treats… Chloe bags for 70% off? Off-White jeans for 50%? Don't mind if we do…

Its crazy how brands and online retailers are pulling us in with these drool worthy deals way before the actual Black Friday event happens. What is their main goal here? Try to empty our already empty bank account?

What do these designer Black Friday sales, although tempting, mean for the future of luxury fashion in general? Isn't high fashion and luxury designers supposed to be exclusive? Even though it breaks my heart to say, if we bring down those prices by 70% that means everyone can have them and that really isn't the main concept of luxury is it? Or are these designers just having a major FOMO moment and wanting to be apart of this big sale event for marketing purposes?

6. How some brands choose not to participate

On a lighter, more hopeful note, some fashion and non-fashion companies have chosen to stay away from the Black Friday mania. REI, FatFace, Pieminister, Noah, or Marshalls are amongst those who boycotted Black Friday last year. This year, some companies are teaming up in movements such as “Make Friday Green Again” or “Fair Friday”. Their goal? Make people realize the environmental cost of overconsumption, calling for “reasonable consumption” instead. Cleverly, they also realize the reputational cost of participating in Black Friday and would rather avoid losing their brand image. These brands have values and seeing their products thrown around and bought because “it’s a deal” does not bode well with them.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, if you want to answer all the questions that are running through your head and ease your doubts about this topic tune in on this episode of the IFAshion podcast where we will be having a conversation about Black Friday and the issue of fast fashion.

In addition to these issues, we will also talk about our own lived experiences and how and why one of us swears to never enter another H&M store ever again…

And now you're done reading... Let's enjoy our 20 min conversation on this topic!

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