Black Friday is a polarizing day in the ethical fashion community. There are essentially two camps – camp one criticizes Black Friday as an event that promotes overconsumption, and therefore chooses not to participate, and camp two acknowledges that Black Friday is one of the few days of the year when ethical & sustainable fashion becomes accessible to those who are normally priced out of an expensive and exclusive fashion niche.
Like many people, I’m somewhere in the middle. I don’t believe in asking retail workers to come in at 2:00 on Thanksgiving afternoon so that hordes of shoppers can stampede over them on their way to crummy “doorbusters” they never even wanted in the first place, and I don’t believe in buying things just for the thrill of the deal. I am, however, a practical person with a small budget (for those of you who don’t know, I work for a non-profit and support both myself and my husband while he is a full-time student), and so I like to shop Black Friday sales when they make it possible for me to afford something that was already on my list. I also know from the brands that I work with that holiday-season shopping supports small businesses (if you choose to spend your dollars at those businesses), so when I can, I do my shopping with them.
Whatever your thoughts are on Black Friday, I hope that you approach it mindfully. To that end, I’m providing a round-up of the best holiday sales from my favorite ethical brands. I have worked with most of the brands below and own clothing from all of them, and I feel good about supporting them and guiding my readers to their holiday sales and charitable endeavors.
| TRADLANDS |
What I like about the brand: Tradlands makes heirloom quality garments in timeless styles, originally inspired by menswear and now expanded to include a broader definition of women’s clothing. I love everything I’ve ever owned from Tradlands and from an affiliate perspective, they are an absolute dream to work with.
The sale: 20% off $100 with code HOLIDAY20 and 25% off $200 with code HOLIDAY25, plus a free $10 gift card for all orders over $50. Through 12/1, 11:59 PST.
| BILL + JAY |
What I like about the brand: Bill + Jay Clothing is a party of two – two literal best friends, Isabelle and Jea, who design and produce all their clothing themselves. My Kate Pants were lovingly sewn by Jea in Portland, OR, and one time I got the chance to spend an afternoon hanging out with Isabelle, who is somehow even more delightful than the beautiful clothing she makes. At the core of Bill + Jay’s ethos is sustainability. They use natural fabrics like organic cotton and silk, and they cut fabric as efficiently as possible to minimize waste. They even have a really cool exchange program where you can return your old Bill + Jay pieces to them for store credit, and they’ll prepare that piece for resale – again, with the intent of eliminating clothing waste as much as possible.
Another important thing about Bill + Jay is how they have completely dispelled the myth that small brands can’t produce body inclusive lines. Bill + Jay is a TWO PERSON operation, but with feedback from their community, they committed to offering their clothing in plus sizes, as well as tall and petite.
The sale: 15% off everything for Green Friday with code GREEN15
| VETTA |
What I like about the brand: You all know I have been a VETTA fangirl for forever. VETTA makes mini capsules of convertible clothing (usually 5-pieces per capsule) that can be combined to make up to 30 outfits. They also use sustainable fabrics and produce their clothing in ethical factories. Recently, they reached out for feedback from their customers and would-be customers on how they can better communicate their sustainability initiatives, so I’m looking forward to even more transparency about their earth-friendly initiatives in the near future.
The sale: 20% off for VETTA Insiders only! VETTA literally never has sales, so this is a pretty big deal. Sign up for the Insider program on their website and a discount code will be emailed to you. I’m a VETTA Insider and I can confirm that they do not spam.
VETTA is also running a limited-time “custom capsule” promotion right now that gets you 10% off any two pieces with code CustomCapsule2, 15% off any three pieces with code CustomCapsule3, and the 5th piece free with any four pieces with code CustomCapsule5. Importantly, this discount can’t be combined with the Black Friday discount.
| NISOLO |
What I like about the brand: Two big points about Nisolo make them a top brand for me. One, they make beautiful, high-quality leather shoes, and two, they are very committed to transparency when it comes to labor standards in their factories. Nisolo recently launched the #LowestWageChallenge, where they published their own lowest wages, and encouraged other brands to do the same. This is basically unheard of in the notoriously opaque industry of fashion, where most retailers will make the excuse that they don’t have that much control over their own supply chain or means of production. I really applaud Nisolo and the work that they do to balance offering products at affordable prices while still paying their workers fairly.
The sale: Use code EXTRA20 to get an additional 20% off your sitewide purchase.
| CHARITABLE CONTRIBUTIONS |
In lieu of sales, some of my favorite brands are choosing to use proceeds from this weekend to make donations to important charities.
- Everlane is partnering with Oceana to raise $300,000 towards reduction of single-use plastics. $10 from every order will be donated to Oceana.
- Wool& is giving 10% of sales today through 12/2 to Girls on the Run, a charity that implements running programs for girls designed to promote self-confidence, help develop healthy relationships, and teach conflict navigation skills. Now is a good time to pre-order the recently rereleased Rowena dress!
- Kotn is donating 100% of the profits from sales made today through Monday to build two primary schools in the Nile Delta and Faiyum, Egypt, where all the cotton for their clothing is grown.
| WHAT I’M BUYING |
I am making exactly two Black Friday purchases. I made the first one earlier this week when Pact announced early access to its Black Friday sale for email subscribers. After several months away from the gym, you may be unsurprised to learn that my former gym clothes no longer fit me. That’s a terrible feeling, so I decided to buy two new gym outfits from Pact, which uses GOTS certified organic cotton in all its garments. The BF sale is really generous, and I saved about $100 on my purchase.
The other thing I’m buying is a big ‘ole cart full of Glossier. I know, it’s not ethical fashion related, but I wear a full face of Glossier every single day, and they have ONE sale per year. If I don’t buy it now, I’m going to buy it in three weeks, so I might as well get it when it’s 20% off. I’m buying the Makeup Set and a new Vinylic Lip. If you’re reading this after Black Friday, you can save 10% off your first Glossier purchase with my referral link.
That’s all for my Black Friday recommendations. I hope you’re all having a lovely post-Thanksgiving weekend with your families, eating leftovers. I personally plan to spend the rest of the weekend catching up on my reading (I am woefully behind the reading goal that I set at the new year) and eating.
This post is not sponsored but it does contain affiliate links.