Encouraging sustainable choices by providing an alternative to Black Friday sales

Are you fed up with endless sales and adverts telling you to buy stuff you don’t want or need? Is Black Friday one step too far? In 2017 our polling revealed 4 in 10 of us feel pressured to join in and half saying Black Friday encourages them to buy things they don’t need. The pressure mounts for 18-25 year olds with 41% feeling the need to wear a different outfit every time they go out and 1 in 6 young people don’t feel they can wear an outfit once it’s been on social media. Despite most people saying they have more than enough clothes, almost half of young people admit Black Friday sales encourage them to buy things they don’t need.

It puts pressure on our purse and the planet too, with 45% of us spending money we can't afford because there was a sale on and 70% of us have bought sale items that we've never even used.

We created 'Bright Friday', an alternative to this Black Friday frenzy. With a focus on fashion, we created a series of events, pop up installations and messages to help people find creative ways to get fashion fixes for less, and to remind people that we don't need to buy new, break our bank or the planet, to feel good.

The first campaign in 2016 took over the streets of Brighton and in 2017 we scaled to three universities across London. The campaigns included:

  • A pop-up installation and giant clothes cube, 2m x 2m, visually displaying the amount of clothes we throw away every 3.5 minutes in the UK - that's around 300,000 tonnes a year (WRAP).
  • Clothes swaps, inviting people to swap clothes they rarely wear and find some pre-loved clothes.
  • Professional styling sessions to help people discover what colours, shapes and styles of clothes they feel great in, so next time they need something new, they know what they'll love and get lots of wears from.
  • Free clothes alterations and repairs with a local haberdasher.
  • Sewing workshops and how-to cards, teaching common repairs such as how to replace a button and fix a hem.
  • 'FAUX', a satirical fashion magazine handed out in shopping centres to highlight the ridiculous side of fast fashion and encourage people to swap, restyle or repair clothes instead.

The difference made

Across the 2016 and 2017 campaigns, Bright Friday generated over 21 million PR opportunities to hear about our sustainable messaging, including coverage on Sky News and The Metro. We reached over 3.3 million people online and 3,000 people took part in events, styling sessions, workshops and FAUX.

In total, the campaigns extended the life of 639 items of clothing through swapping or repairing, directly preventing textiles from going to waste.

Read or Download (PDF) the full impact report.

What's next?

We’ve put together a simple guide on running a clothes swap called Street Store which contains some simple handouts, promotional posters and tips. Get in touch if you need any advice and let us know how you get on. 

This campaign is funded by North London Waste Authority. Thanks to Showtime Events company for providing a Showtime Photo Booth at the #BrightFriday events in North London, 2017.