BY: MEERA PATEL
With the holiday season rapidly approaching, there has been a rise in the amount of people shopping. This rise will be especially evident on Black Friday, as people line up at stores across the US in hopes to snag the best deal on iPhones, TVs, makeup, and most importantly clothes! Although Black Friday has historically been a huge source of profit for the fashion industry, as more and more people succumb to the biggest sales of the season, it is important to recognize the potential detrimental effects of buying from these large retailers.
Retailers that participate in fast fashion, or cheap clothing quickly made to keep up with trends, are many of the most popular shops during Black Friday as their already cheap clothing is sold for even cheaper. This includes H&M, Forever 21, and Zara, along with popular online boutiques like Shein, Boohoo, and FashionNova. Although the price points for many of these brands are appealing to so many consumers, we must also realize the long term effects of fast fashion and large corporations. In order for fast fashion companies to sell at these prices, they have to keep costs down in order to actually make profit. They keep these costs down by using environmentally unfriendly means of production and not paying their workers living wages. In fact, the fashion industry is the second largest polluter in the world, and it is due to the rise and popularity of fast fashion.
There are many ways to participate in Black Friday sales without financially supporting fast fashion, including buying from small, local businesses! Although these stores may not have the cheapest price points, goods from small businesses are ethically sourced and made from better quality materials, making it better for the world and your wallet in the long run. Moreover, by buying from small businesses, you are directly supporting someone’s dream, which is honestly so much better than supporting corporations that do not care about you or their workers.
Some small businesses/ethical brands to check out:
Hayley Scanlan Studio: a small business based in Dundee, Scotland whose work was seen on Netflix’s Next in Fashion. The brand uses ethically sourced leather, has many zero waste products, and all pieces are made by Hayley Scanlan, herself.
PROCLAIM: a lingerie brand that makes nude and inclusive underwear for people of all skin tones from recycled water bottles. It is also owned by women of color.
Arrow + Phoenix: a black-owned business that specializes in inclusive swim and athletic wear. All bikinis are made out of recycled materials. After pieces have been worn out, you can ship it back to the store so that the piece can be properly recycled.
Rent the Runway: great option if you want to rent a piece for an event. Oftentimes people don’t wear special occasion dresses more than once, so this is a great way to make sure that your money is not going to waste. All clothes arrive at your door in a recyclable bag.