Like every year, towards the end of November, discounts and promotions are popping up everywhere. Our inboxes and social media accounts are flooded with deals that “we do not want to miss out on”, and all of a sudden we find ourselves thinking about buying a big variety of products that “might come in handy in the future, you never know!”.
We are, of course, talking about Black Friday: every last Friday of November (and, more recently, the weekend following it) retailers tempt customers with big and small discounts, hoping to attract the crowds who are looking to buy everything from Christmas presents to the items that have been sitting in their wish lists for months – waiting for a more convenient moment to purchase them.
However, as you might have noticed, we at Trama Textiles did not advertise any Black Friday discount. And probably you are wondering: “Why?”. There are different reasons that made us decide to not join this occasion, but they can all be summarized with one sentence: Black Friday does not promote sustainability. Let’s see together what kind of negative impacts this day has on the environment and society, and let’s discover how we can be more sustainable in our purchases!
According to a 2020 study, last year Black Friday emitted 429,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, in the UK alone. It is the equivalent of 435 return flights from London to New York! This is mostly due to the high numbers of transactions, with all that they imply: production, packaging, delivery. In 2017, the Guardian estimated that a truck left an Amazon fulfillment center every 93 seconds.
The chance of having access to normally expensive products for a very reduced price (and for a very limited amount of time that does not leave time to think about it!) might tempt people to purchase items they do not really need: according to statistics, the rate of goods returned after Black Friday is about 30%, while 80% of the purchases are thrown away after one year of use.
Besides impacting the environment, Black Friday also has an impact on those who work to produce and deliver what we buy. The possibility of selling items for a hugely discounted price often means that behind what we purchase there are workers who do not have access to a living wage, and who work extra hours to ensure that production and delivery meet strict standards and deadlines.
And this is exactly what we stand against here at Trama Textiles! Our cooperative was born with the intent of ensuring fair earnings and dignified working conditions for our weavers. Sustainable fashion also means to give the creation of garments and accessories the time it needs, without depriving those who work on it of their free time. When buying something from Trama Textiles’ shop, you are contributing not only to empowering our weavers, but also to a concept of work and production that respects every individual who takes part to it.
The price of our products reflects the work and the ethic behind it: offering huge discounts would mean that the weavers would earn less, or that they will have to give up on their work-private life balance. And of course, the well-being of our weavers and their families comes first for us – and it is also what allows them to create such beautiful and high-quality products!
While here at Trama Textiles we believe in ethical consumerism, this does not mean that you MUST not buy ANYTHING during Black Friday. However, we recommend to ask yourself these questions before proceeding to the purchase:
- How much do I already own?
- How much will I wear it?
- How long will it last?
Taking time to really reflect on what you want to buy will help you to be honest with yourself about the actual use you have for the items sitting in your cart.
Also, we encourage you to check if what you want to buy could be found in local shops or in sustainable brands – so that you can support your local community, or small realities trying to be as sustainable as possible at every phase of the production cycle. Another good alternative are secondhand or vintage stores!
Whatever you decide to do, remember: you have the power! Each small action can contribute to achieve a more sustainable society, and with what you purchase you have a voice in what direction the market will move in the future.