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How to turn Black Friday into Take Back Friday

By Simone Preuss


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Take Back Friday by Teemill. Images: Teemill

While many brands and retailers are pulling out all the stops on Black Friday to sell, sell, sell, there are some that use the day to reverse sales by either stopping sales activities, enabling re-commerce or taking back old merchandise for recycling. FashionUnited has highlighted some of them for those wanting alternatives to spending and overconsumption.

Take Back Friday by Teemill

Recyclable t-shirt by Teemill. Image: Teemill

Leading the way is circular economy platform Teemill who is working with its community of 10,000 stores to ask customers to send back Teemill-made clothing they no longer wear as part of its #TakeBackFriday campaign.

Returned products are then used to make new products using Teemill’s innovative Remill technology. Customers will be rewarded with a 5 pound credit to spend on future purchases of circular economy products.

“Black Friday is a symptom of how waste has been woven into the way our world works. Products have been designed to be thrown away, meaning the only way to create growth is make and sell more products and create more waste. It fuels climate change and destroys nature,” comments Teemill co-founder Mart Drake-Knight in a statement.

Circular organic cotton t-shirt by Teemill. Image: Teemill

“We built Teemill to solve that issue. Our products are designed from the start to come back and be remade, and that means that instead of creating waste, we create new products from it. Doing the right thing shouldn’t cost the earth, so we made the platform free because we want to encourage everyone who cares about these issues to have the chance to co-create a more sustainable future with us,” adds Drake-Knight.

After working for many years to design a circular supply chain, the company that began as a fashion brand called Rapanui in 2008, re-launched as the Teemill platform in 2018. Using only recovered, natural materials (not plastic) even for packaging, Teemill creates value from waste and takes responsibility even after the life cycle of a product is over.

The UK-based company currently works with more than 10,000 brands, including global NGOs and businesses, media, online content creators and influencers, providing an open-access circular design and supply chain platform. Its users include Greenpeace, WWF, BBC Earth, Google, Selfridges, Fortnum and Mason, and Lush.

To date, Teemill has diverted 30,000 kilograms of organic cotton from landfill, avoided 1 million kilograms of CO2e emissions and saved 586 million litres of water using its Remill process that turns returned products into new high-quality products, all of which can go through the same process over and over again. Teemill’s goal is to take 100 million items back by 2027 and Take Back Friday is a way to get consumers to participate.

Buy Back Friday by Raeburn

Buy Back Friday. Image: Raeburn

UK-based fashion studio Raeburn will empty its flagship store at 2 Marshall Street in Soho, London from current season stock on Friday so that circularity partner Responsible can turn it into a Buy Back Friday re-commerce centre. Consumers can bring men’s and women’s items from Raeburn and other premium streetwear brands to have them authenticated and valuated on site for a monetary exchange. Visitors will also get tips on how to evaluate their current and future wardrobe with a focus on intentionally keeping clothing in rotation and out of landfills for as long as possible. 

“We have always had an opposing view of Black Friday - one of restoration and repair,” commented Raeburn founder and designer Christopher Raeburn in a press release. “Traditionally, we close the shop on this day to encourage a sustainable mindset: buy less, but better. We have taken that one step further this year by bringing in the Responsible team to educate customers on the proactive steps they can take to make purchases that keep the product in circulation for many years and several new owners.”

“All collected pieces will run through our premium refurbishment process. We will ozone-clean everything and make high-quality repairs, so each piece feels brand new when delivered in minimal, plastic-free packaging to the next customer via our Responsible re-commerce store,” explained Responsible CMO Ciaran Jordan.

Green Friday by Deuter

Elephant conservation project. Image: Deuter

German outdoor brand Deuter encourages less consumption in favour of conscious shopping and sustainable actions by turning Black Friday into Green Friday. Deuter will donate 10 percent of its turnover from online sales in the period from 25th to 27th November 2022 to the European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA) for the project “Strengthening Human-Elephant Coexistence” in Ghana.

The money raised will improve and restore the habitat of the African forest elephant, which is threatened by extinction. Trees will also be planted and around 5,000 people educated about the value of elephants for the Kakum Conservation Area ecosystem. In addition, about 500 farmers will be educated on better agricultural techniques and practices.

Backpack repair service. Image: Deuter

To extend the lifecycle of its products, Deuter has also been travelling to various cities in Germany to repair backpacks directly at retail stores.

S.W.A.P. Friday by Freitag

S.W.A.P. initiative by Freitag. Image: Freitag

Swiss bag maker Freitag will not only close its physical stores as in previous years on Black Friday, but for the first time also its online store on this day. Instead, those interested can either exchange their bags on the S.W.A.P. platform or do this face-to-face in all brick-and-mortar stores of the brand from Zurich to Tokyo.

Freitag also joins hands with like-minded brands like Raeburn (see above), Dutch denim pioneer Mud Jeans, Swedish minimalist fashion brand Asket, Spanish vegan sneaker brand Flamingos Life, surf and yoga clothing brand Oy from Seattle and others who will also shut their online stores on Black Friday and field various initiatives and constructive actions for fair and sustainable ways of doing business and consuming instead.

More fashion brands boycotting Black Friday discounting can be found here.

Black Friday