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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Emma Loffhagen

From Lush to Veja: All the brands boycotting Black Friday this year

It is the biggest day of the year for bargain hunters – a huge, international price drop across thousands of websites across the world. 

Black Friday is officially tomorrow (November 24), but sales actually started weeks ago, and have ramped up heavily in the days leading up to the big event. 

But over-consumption is a major problem, and mega sales like Black Friday exacerbate this issue.

This year, many retailers have launched Black Friday offers earlier and with heavier discounts than ever before.

John Lewis was one of the first retailers to kick off the sale season, with a Black Friday Sale on November 2. Skincare brand The Ordinary is running a month-long November sale. In fact, by mid-November, fashion sites were awash with Black Friday deals.

In a survey of seven countries including the UK, 74 per cent of consumers said they intended to take advantage of deals during November sales this year, according to Boston Consulting Group.

However, the fashion industry produces eight to 10 per cent of global CO2 emissions (four to five billion tonnes annually, according to the UN), and global clothes sales could increase by up to 65 per cent by 2030, the World Bank suggests.

While it’s clearly a huge opportunity for brands to cash in, a growing raft of retailers are boycotting Black Friday to raise awareness of the importance of sustainability

Here are all the brands boycotting Black Friday this year. 

Lucy & Yak

(Lucy & Yak)

Ethical womenswear brand Lucy & Yak has promoted the charitable Fior Di Loto Foundation instead of cutting prices for Black Friday since 2018.

The foundation provides life-changing education for girls living in villages surrounding Pushkar, north-west India. 

This year, Lucy & Yak have created a limited-edition version of its twill dungaree, with all proceeds from its sales going to the foundation. The brand will not be putting items on sale. 

“It only felt right to use Black Friday as a way of supporting a charity with people-focused purpose,” Lucy & Yak co-founder Lucy Greenwood told Drapers. 

“We’ve always wanted to show that business can be done differently – in a way that upholds a positive environmental and social impact – and, at a time where rabid consumerism and waste are often encouraged, it’s even more important for us to stay true to this value,” she added. 


(Sean Gallup / Getty Images)

British beauty brand Lush is using Black Friday to raise money for People vs Big Tech, a movement challenging the power and abuses of large technology firms, as part of its Big Tech Rebellion campaign.

In a statement, Lush said that it was raising money with a new limited-edition bath bomb to support its work to "rein in the handful of Big Tech companies that have monopolised the Internet with intrusive surveillance, predatory addictive-algorithms, harmful content and echo chambers".

Launching on Black Friday, Lush will sell a limited edition bath bomb called The Cloud (£6.50) scented with calming rose oil, with 100 per cent of the sales price (minus the VAT) going to People vs Big Tech.

Annabelle Baker, global brand director at Lush, said in a statement: “Black Friday is generally a time when the Big Tech companies rake in huge profits, but at what cost?

“It’s important that we campaign at this critical time of year to fund movements like People vs Big Tech who are providing a pathway to a future without surveillance advertising or predatory algorithms and putting the control back into the hands of the people.”



British womenswear retailer Aligne will not be participating in Black Friday, opting instead to raise awareness for Giving Tuesday.

Held on the Tuesday after Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday it is an initiative to encourage donating to charity, to combat the commercialisation of Black Friday. 

Throughout Cyber Week this year, Aligne will be sending pre-paid donation bags in its e-commerce orders, and covering the price of postage. Customers will also be able to donate directly to Smart Works, a charity that helps unemployed women with clothing and coaching to get into employment, throughout the week. 

On Tuesday, November 28, Aligne will run a Buy a Dress, Give a Dress campaign, where it will donate a dress to Smart Works for every dress purchased on their website. 

“Last year, we decided to take an alternative approach, opting to not participate in Black Friday,” managing director Virginia Seymour told Drapers. 

“After an industry-wide moment of consumption, it is important to shine a light on amazing charities doing amazing work, [including] Smart Works, a charity we partner with all year round,” Seymour said. “Smart Works do incredible work helping women re-enter the workforce across the UK.”


(Ben Stansall / AFP via Getty Images)

Currys has launched its own Green Friday event, with the aim “to unite sustainability with immense deals". 

The electrical retailer will offer discounts on more than 140 home appliances, all designed to reduce energy usage, thus lowering household energy bills.

It also offers free in-store recycling for products brought in by shoppers, and will collect and recycle old appliances when delivering new ones for a minimum of £15.



Sustainable trainer company Veja is also sitting out Black Friday this year. 

The brand announced on social media that, instead of sales, it will be offering customers a free sneaker repair in one of its cobbler locations.

In June 2020, the company launched the Darwin project with a facility in Bordeaux, France, that cleans and restores old trainers and recycles those beyond repair. The project now includes five cobblers around the world at store locations including Paris, Madrid, and Berlin.



On November 14, British activewear brand Adanola posted a statement to its 590,000 Instagram followers, announcing that it “won’t be taking part in Black Friday sales”.

“We no longer feel that taking part in Black Friday sales aligns with our efforts to deliver quality products at an accessible price and supply products to genuine demand,” the statement read.

The backlash to the post was swift – within hours, there were hundreds of comments criticising the decision. 

The brand’s owner and CEO Hyrum Cook told Drapers that, although he had not expected the criticism, he stands by his decision to boycott Black Friday.

Vagabond Shoes

(Vagabond Instagram)

Swedish footwear brand Vagabond Shoemakers is spotlighting consumers who have stayed loyal to their old pairs of shoes in a series of campaign videos on Instagram coinciding with Black Friday.

"During this week, we uncover the stories of true Vagabonds who have worn and loved their footwear throughout the seasons," the captions read.

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