Shopping on Black Friday has become an American institution. In 2013, consumers spent $12.3 billion dollars on Thanksgiving and Black Friday combined, according to USA Today. And the average American spent $407 throughout the entire weekend.
While the ‘anti Black Friday’ movement has been adopted by some, most consumers still welcome the (fake) discounts, post-Thanksgiving tradition, and official call-to-action for holiday shopping. Big box America jams the front pages of Google just as shoppers jam their parking lots.
Last year, I proposed 50 things to do instead of participating in Black Friday. And while I stand behind those consumers who choose to opt out, I also realize that most small businesses and socially-conscious brands can’t abandon Black Friday and close down shop for the day. Doing so would be the equivalent of saying “no” to a big boost in sales and missing out on the heightened buying behavior that Black Friday ignites.
When the consumer is ready and willing to pull out his wallet can a small business owner afford to take a moral stand? Not always.
As consumers, we possess the free will to choose whether or not we shop on this particular day. But instead of drawing a hard line and saying “don’t shop,” there is another option.
Support brands that deserve your dollars — more than Wal-Mart or Best Buy does (yeah, I said it). Small businesses are the ones that keep our towns, communities and local economies running, and even better, they’re often the businesses that practice transparent, ethical and responsible business practices that are embedded into their business models.
If you’re going to shop on Friday, why not choose quality, craftsmanship and durability over cheap, imported and disposable. It’s clear by now that our relationship to fashion has some dangerous implications, but we can all start creating a solution in the way that we shop this holiday season.
Below is a list of 50 apparel brands that believe in ethics, sustainability and transparency. I’ve divided them into categories, depending on what you’re looking for, and most will be offering sales on Friday with the rest of big-box America. Imagine the effect that $12.3 billion could have on these small businesses, all of which pay their workers a fair and living wage.
Reformation | killer clothes that don’t kill the environment. made in LA.
Cuyana | fewer, better things. superior quality.
Green Line by K | timeless. organic. made in Massachusetts.
Vaute Couture | vegan. recycled fibers. made in NYC.
Nicole Lenzen | chic day to night womenswear. made in NYC.
Piece x Piece | luxury. salvaged fabrics. made in San Francisco.
StudyNY | seasonless. contemporary. made in Brooklyn.
Hackwith Design House | limited edition. short run. made in the USA.
Seamly.co | sustainable. versatile. made in Colorado.
Brass | transparent, honest fashion. made in China.
Pima Doll | sustainable. less waste. made in Peru.
Amour Vert | buy a tee, plant a tree. made in San Francisco.
Prairie Underground | for independent women. made sustainably in Seattle.
Peter Field | men’s accessories made in the USA.
Tuckerman & Co. | organic cotton buttondowns. made in New England.
Apolis | socially motivated to empower communities.
Brave Gentleman | for ethically handsome men.
Flint & Tinder | made in America & built to last.
Bluffworks | wash less. wrinkle free. made in NYC.
Ministry of Supply | performance workwear. transparent manufacturing.
Mens & Womens
Forest and Fin | screen-printed tees. non-toxic ink. handmade in Savannah.
PACT Apparel | organic cotton. socks, underwear & basics.
Appalatch | all-purpose knitwear. made in the USA.
Loomstate | organic & sustainable designer apparel.
NAU | outdoor apparel made from sustainable materials.
Noble Carriage | organic cotton baby goods.
Kallio | vintage kids fashion. made in NYC.
Aventyr kidswear | unisex, eco-friendly kidswear. made in the USA.
Dhana EcoKids | organic, fair trade fabric. low impact dyes.
My Little Adel | handmade children’s accessories.
Gamine | selvedge denim dungarees. american-made.
Noble Denim | responsibly-made jeans. makers of quality.
Eva & Paul | organic. fair trade. made in the USA.
Raleigh Denim | old-school denim crafters. made in the USA.
Bhava | cruelty-free. conscious. vegan.
Nisolo | handmade. ethically-sourced leather.
Sseko Designs | sandals that empower & employ women.
Rekixx | 100% recyclable. landfill-free sneaker.
Sword & Plough | recycled military fabric. upcycled into bags.
Wild Mantle | hooded scarves. handwoven with sustainable materials.
Activyst | athletic bags that fund girls’ sports worldwide.
Hera By Day | handcrafted turbans for the modern bohemian.
MULXIPLY | fair trade. artisan craftsmanship. made in Nepal.
Looptworks | repurpose excess textiles into new products.
Stone + Cloth | canvas bags provide scholarships to students.
lallitara | vintage saris. one-of-a-kind products.
sarah oliver handbags | handmade bags, employing senior citizens.
Twice | second-hand name brands.
ThredUp | online consignment shop.
Poshmark | shop the closets of women across America.
There are so many more awesome brands practicing honest and ethical business — this is by no means an exhaustive list. It’s simply meant to help you get started. Happy holiday, everyone.