Swedish population fights back against the consumerism of Black Friday, opting for second hand and recycled alternatives this Christmas.
This week hosts not only Thanksgiving, but it’s modern day partner Black Friday. The day falls annually on the fourth Friday of November, the bank holiday after thanksgiving, and is frequently referred to as the busiest shopping day in the United States, as major retailers around the world introduce colossal sales to mark the beginning of the Christmas shopping season.
In Sweden for the past 35 years, research company HUI has released the Christmas gift of the year, based on consumer behaviour and current social trends. On the 20th of November, HUI Declared gift of 2018 to be The Recycled Garment. Ironically, this falls on the same week as the now globally acclaimed shopping day.
Throughout Sweden, consumers are speaking out against the Black Friday tradition, both in their consumption habits as seen through the HUI study, and actively online. The Facebook page “BLACK FRIDAY- I don’t buy it”, launched by Swedish Natursyddsföreningen to counter the tradition, has 67,000 people either going or interested. The event urges people to “fix their stuff, buy second hand and think before [they] buy”, because “we need to consume less, not more.”
Following the record breaking summer temperatures in Sweden, keeping people on the beach well into late September, environmental concern is wide spread throughout the country. Lundagård polls showed the environment and climate to be the largest concern amongst Lund’s students in the run up to the 2018 Swedish parliamentary election.
I went to speak to consumers and retail assistants in Lund’s second hand store Humana, to ask if they had heard of the Facebook movement, whether they were partaking in Black Friday sales, and if the recycled garment was in fact their Christmas gift of the year.
When asked if the HUI support for recycled clothing would affect their sales, Humana saleswomen Magda Lundberg said she hadn’t heard the announcement, but that she was sure it would have a positive effect. Shopper Elsa Gleisner had seen Natursyddsföreningen’s Facebook event, and claimed she would not be partaking in the Black Friday sales, choosing instead to be environmentally conscious this Christmas. Humana doesn’t partake in Black Friday, but does see an influx of sales around the Christmas period.
Saleswoman Hanna Nyström claims the appeal of vintage is in its style, as well as its recyclability. Modern fashion trends have influenced consumers, such as young shopper Lovisa Pflanzl who claimed fashion had encouraged her interest in second hand and recycled shopping, and that she is not inclined to shop in the Black Friday sales.
Many Swedes want sustainable fashion and consumerism, so maybe it’s about time the corporations listen, and stop capitalising on winter indulgence. Why not try following this year’s trend and shop second hand for Christmas, or browse through vintage rather than attempting to shove your way into a department store this Friday.