Black Friday sales - or Buy Nothing Day? Campaigners encourage conscious consumerism

28 November 2019, 15:38 | Updated: 29 November 2019, 07:02

When the shop doors burst open on Black Friday and chaos ensues, it's a little bit tempting to just kick back and relax in protest.

And some of us may feel more encouraged after recent environmental developments - from teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg sailing across the pond to give a UN speech, to a series of Extinction Rebellion protests (some not so peaceful) to encourage the government to take action on climate change.

But after last year's £7bn cash injection into the British retail sector from purchases made on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, radical change is unlikely to happen so soon.

With the rise of consumerism, fast fashion and instant gratification being more apparent than ever, Black Friday, which started in the US, is being boycotted by several companies who are promoting anti-Black Friday campaigns to give shoppers a nudge.

Here are some companies and campaigns that are banning bargains to encourage conscience-driven consumerism.

1. Allbirds

London shoe shop AllBirds, located in London's Covent Garden, is celebrating an alternative no-buy Black Friday by emptying their store and ceasing trading for the day, all in the name of encouraging mindful shopping. Instead, the shop will open its space for immersive workshops, live music and experiences that encourage shoppers to create more and consume less.

2. Christopher Raeburn

British fashion designer Christopher Raeburn has been a long-running Black Friday rebel. His brand Raeburn, which advocates the slow-fashion movement, is running an initiative which hopes to challenge shoppers into adopting the new mindset: "BUY NOTHING, RAEPAIR SOMETHING".

3. Deciem

Popular and affordable skincare brand Deciem, the parent company of The Ordinary, is shunning Black Friday in favour of a 23% discount on every product for the whole month before going dark on 29 November and closing all stores. The company is using its Black(out) Friday campaign to highlight hyper-consumerism posing one of the biggest threats to the planet. The company said: "Flash sales can often lead to rushed purchasing decisions, driven by the fear of a sell-out. We no longer feel that Black Friday is an earth or consumer-friendly event".

4. Buy Nothing Day

Companies aside, there is a whole movement dedicated to this cause, and it's simply called Buy Nothing Day. It challenges consumers with a "very personal challenge", to not buy anything on 29 November, aka Black Friday. Offering some inspiration, it advises to "learn some self-discipline" and "rekindle your sense of wonder" by tightening the purse strings.

5. Fashion Revolution

Fashion Revolution is a charity campaigning for reform within the fashion industry and is calling on the public to "take a stand against mindless consumption" on Black Friday. It also asks retailers to abstain from discounts until Cyber Monday (2 December) to tackle the environmental and social damage of hyper-discount culture.