If you’re a conscious shopper - or over consumption makes you feel a bit nauseous - then all the deals, discounts and ads at this time of year can be hard to stomach. But you don’t have to contribute to mass consumerism and fuelling the rise of generic big brands this Black Friday. There are plenty of smaller labels, ethical brands, independent stores and feel good events to support instead. Plus, if you don't want to get into a fight in Topshop or trampled underfoot at Selfridges there is a more dignified way. The discounts may not be as massive as the big retailers can offer but we guarantee that the spending will feel better.
Anti Black Friday
If you’re in London between now and Sunday 25thyou’ll find 15+ under-the-radar emerging designers at the Anti-Black Friday concept store at 64/68 Charing Cross Road. Already rated as the #1 sustainable fashion event to attend in London this week, Anti-Black Friday is all about celebrating independent designers and brands that are making a difference with their impactful design and non-impactful sustainable processes. Alongside a series of events and workshops aimed at promoting craftsmanship and consciousness, you’ll find a selection of carefully curated brands such as Sabinna, Ware London and Gung Ho Designs.
Gather & See
Gather & See is an online ethical fashion retailer born out of a desire to find beautiful, stylish ethical fashion brands that protect people and planet and don’t compromise on style. The store ethos is all about offering something to a conscious consumer - Black Friday, they so rightly say, harnesses the worst in unconscious consumerism. So, while you won’t find a horde of Black Friday discounts on the Gather & See site you will find a small but satisfying sale featuring everything, from yoga pants to winter coats and beautiful bags.
Festival of Sustainable Threads
Also in London, The Festival of Sustainable Threads pops up at Hackney House this Saturday 24thNovember in the midst of all the Black Friday madness. If you want to feel good this Black Friday, rather than drained of cash and slightly guilty, then pack up all the clothes you haven’t worn in recent times and head over to The Festival of Sustainable Threads and The Big Swish Clothes Swap hosted by Betsy’s Closet Swap Shop. The event is a celebration of fashion, creativity and recyclability and there will also be a Sustainable Threads Panel Discussion to get involved in.
If you want to support a cause with your Black Friday spending this year then see Everlane. This American store offers free international shipping on orders over $100 and has created a Black Friday Fund with the Surfrider Foundation to donate $260,000 to clean up 20,000 pounds of plastic from beaches across America. The brand is committed to “radical transparency,” partnering with factories that have been given a compliance audit to evaluate factors like fair wages, reasonable hours, and environment. It also sells a wide selection of fashion and accessories for men and women and for every order placed, $13 will go into the Black Friday Fund.
Contemporary jewellery brand Today (recently brought to our attention by sustainable fashion queen Ruth MacGilp) is holding a Black Friday sale with a difference. Firstly, the sale will take place via Instagram stories (@madebytoday) – if you like what you see, reply “SOLD” to the story with your name and address and the brand will contact you to do the rest. Secondly, 50% of every sale gets donated to Crisis, the homelessness Charity. The ethos of the brand is to create timeless, ethical and eco friendly jewellery that will be treasured long past any season cycle. The pieces are simple, stylish and distinctive, ideal for gifting (and self-gifting) and by nabbing them you can take part in Black Friday in the most uplifting of ways.
Young British Designers
Emerging British designers have a fantastic platform in Young British Designers, a website (and now shop) entirely focused on promoting and selling home grown talent. You’ll find a range of names on here, from the beautifully crafted bags of Paradise Row, to the innovative style of Eudon Choi. YBD’s Black Friday sale has been rebranded as a “thank you” sale – you can get 30% off everything in the store with the code THANKS30.
Modern Society launched its eponymous label in 2016 and the online store is a haven for fashion lovers looking for distinctive, sophisticated and sustainable style. Alongside its own label – which is made using natural dyes and organic cottons – Modern Society also stocks the likes of Spanish imprint Sunad, the embodiment of slow fashion with its timeless crisp shirting that plays on both femininity and masculinity. Look out for the Modern Society beauty line coming this month, starting with 100% essential oils and natural handmade soaps in 5 scents, from Activated Charcoal to Turmeric and Sandalwood. For Black Friday, Modern Society is offering 30% off selected lines – both online and in its London store – starting tomorrow at 9am and ending on Monday.
AIDA Shoreditch opened in 2012, a store designed to offer something more than your average shopping experience. It’s a physical shop (in Shoreditch, near the Ace Hotel) and also sells online, and the passion that its founders have for breaking the fashion mould with fresh collections and emerging brands is tangible. The store sells so many covetable things, from vegan bags to Brazilian trainers and Scandi dresses. You can get 20% off the entire online store during Black Friday.