Being Green on Black Friday

November 15, 2020

Black Friday originated in the US, and happens the day after Thanksgiving when shops lower their prices to signify the beginning of the Christmas season. The tradition has since spread across the world, including here in the UK, and in recent years has increased from a day of sales to a weekend, and for some stores even a whole week. It's a busy time for businesses and consumers, and last year, transaction value was up 16.5% compared with the year before. This year, Black Friday falls on 27th November, and though it may be good for big businesses, it is bad news for people and the planet.

First, it's important to mention that Black Friday can be a great opportunity for conscious purchases, particularly items that you need but couldn't previously afford. However, for many people it is a day of mindless consumption which is disastrous for our planet. 

The prices of fast fashion items plummet on Black Friday, but at what cost to people and the planet? Many of the people making our clothes live in poverty, are not paid fairly, and experience workers' rights violations and poor working conditions. On top of this, every year the fashion industry contributes 10% of global carbon dioxide emissions and uses around 1.5 trillion litres of water, and is a massive polluter of our air and water. In addition are the environmental impacts of packaging, which is often plastic, and carbon emissions and air pollution from an increase deliveries.

Low prices encourage over consumption and results in excessive, unnecessary waste. In Europe, clothing prices have been dropping since 2000, and the average consumer is buying more items but keeping them for less time. In the UK, we buy more clothes per person than any other country in Europe, and 300,000 tonnes of clothing ends up in household bins every year.

As consumers, one big way to make a difference on Black Friday is with our wallets. Supporting unethical brands sends a message that it's acceptable for them to overproduce at the cost of people and the environment. For the sake of the planet, we should opt to spend our money only on items we truly need and try to support ethical and small businesses, rather than making unnecessary, impulse purchases in the rush of Black Friday. 

Throughout November, Fashion Revolution is asking people to take part in their Black Friday campaign by abstaining from shopping the discounts and spreading the message that overproduction costs the Earth with their free, downloadable social media assets. Participants can also use their voices by reaching out to the big brands and asking #WhoMadeMyClothes? and #WhatsInMyClothes?, along with confronting brands about making less stuff. This campaign will also celebrate clothing longevity by asking participants to make, mend, upcycle, share, and swap clothes instead of buying new.

This campaign is supported by Fashion Revolution’s global network, along with international organisations all working to shape a better fashion industry. Supporting organisations include The Sustainable Fashion Forum, Greenpeace & Make Smthng Week, Fashion Act Now, Global Fashion Exchange and Fashion Takes Action. In addition, the campaign is supported by a series of small sustainable fashion brands who are doing good this Black Friday by donating some profit to Fashion Revolution in lieu of hosting discounts.

“Black Friday is a scam. It’s one more way to get citizens to think they are finding a bargain, when in fact they are hunting an illusion. Don’t just buy because it’s cheap, think of why you are intending to buy, inspect your potential purchase and only then decide. Black Friday is about the rush, the speed, the compulsion. At Fashion Revolution we are asking you to stay conscientious, to buy with purpose.”

-  Orsola de Castro, Fashion Revolution co-founder and creative director

A Green Christmas : Gifts to Help the Planet and Small Businesses

November 01, 2020

Christmas is a wonderful, but worryingly wasteful, time of the year. An extra 30% of waste is discarded during the festive period, and over 21 million people receive at least one unwanted Christmas present! 

However, there is no need to turn into Scrooge and give up on the magic of the holiday. Buying from independent and ethical brands means we can find unique gifts that are more likely to be cherished than thrown away, and also supports our local economy and community, which is particularly important after this tough year. Here are a handful of independent artists and businesses for some inspiration:


  • BebesArts: I love Bee's paintings of UK animals and the countryside. I have several of her prints on the walls around my house, and my mum also bought some after seeing and loving mine!

  • byAliCottrell: Ali's David Attenborough print gets a lot of love from guests to our house! All of Ali's products are sustainably produced and packaged.

  • Georgina Hackett Art: Georgina offers pet portrait commissions, and I couldn't resist her recent British garden birds print which I can't wait to get framed and up on the wall.

  • Mister Peebles: Cute animal cards and prints, that are sent in plastic free packaging. I already have their 2021 calendar ready for next year!

  • Raspberry Thief: Art inspired by nature, including British animals, wildflowers, fungi and the four seasons.

  • Rose Agar Designs: Rose's beautiful handmade lino prints are inspired by nature, and celebrate our glorious woodlands.

  • Tori Ratcliffe: Tori paints animals in watercolour, and offers pet portrait commissions. Not only is her art incredible, she has also donated over £22,000 of her profits to conservation charities!


  • Ethique Shampoo Bar - I had to include this shampoo bar, as after trialing what feels like 100 of them that left my hair feeling greasy, this year I finally found a brand that works! My hair is really oily, so I use the St Clements one, but they have options for all hair types.

  • Lush Snow Fairy - Ok so not independent but I've allowed it under ethical grounds.. and no product says Christmas time to me quite like Snow Fairy, and the fact that the products are limited edition makes it even more special.

  • The Plastic Free Shop and Plastic Freedom - both of these stores have loads of plastic free beauty options, and both support conservation charities.


Books are always a good gift choice, and independent book stores need our support more than ever. It might feel easier to go to Amazon, but supporting a local bookshop really makes a difference to your community. They also provide much better, tailored service, and many also run outreach activities. I shared some of my recent nature reads here, or if you're not sure what to buy, a voucher from your local bookshop is a good option. Visit Independent Bookshops for more info.


  • hello DODO: Will and I both own loads of patches from hello DODO, each have a jumper, and a screen print framed in our living room. Their designs are fun and colourful, and use ethically and sustainably sourced materials.

  • Silly Girl Club: Handmade clothing made from old bedsheets which will leave you feeling nostalgic! Everything sells out super quickly so it's worth following them on Instagram to keep up with restock dates.

  • Wyatt&Jack: Buy a unique bag and save plastic from ending up in landfill! Wyatt&Jack's bags and wash bags are made from old bouncy castles and inflatables.

I also wrote a guide to responsibly purchasing and disposing of Christmas cards and wrapping paper which you can read here.

Nature's Good News