There's a certain ugliness to Black Friday. I never want to be that person attacking businesses for making a living, but there's something grotesque about this recent import. Impulse shopping driven by excessive discounting.
I hope it's a chance to think a bit about where stuff comes from. It's also maybe an opportunity for homespun brands that properly get provenance and building a decent partnership with suppliers. I was pleased to see that one of my favourite brands Haglofs are doing an anti-Black Friday campaign and urging people to recycle instead with the launch of Haglofs Restored. It's not something I'll have call for just yet, as I'm a recent convert and it seems remarkably resilient technical clothing that's also really well made and very smart too.
I've been reading Patagonia founder Yves Chouinard's book about the evolution of the outdoor brand and the risks he's taken and the decisions he made early on. Not only is it really smart gear, it's rooted in excellent values. I love how he declared his Manchester shop as a gift to the people of the city and the area. I want to believe that. I also find myself wondering why everyone doesn't do this. Not only is it good, it's good business. As a mate who knows far more about this sort of stuff than me pointed out, Kantar research reveals that brands with a clear commitment to purpose outperformed others massively.
Patrick Grant, founder of Community Clothing has issued a bit of a plea for the fashion industry in this country. He's passionate about a revival and urges us to support social enterprises that support skilled jobs. I don't see a problem with that. I've bought loads of pieces from CC over the last few years, basic, well made, hard wearing staple items. I don't see the point of a massive mark up on well marketed brands that I won't name, but the lambswool jumper I'm wearing today is from a quality mill in Scotland and produced through CC, just as the Peacoat (pictured) was made in Blackburn using Hainsworth milled wool.
Avid readers of this blog will note too that the picture is cropped to edit the trouser troubles I talked about last week.