LONDON — Anya Hindmarch is eschewing the Black Friday sales, an American tradition that’s become popular in the U.K. due to Amazon and other large-scale retailers, and is donating profits to the charity Voice for Nature instead.
The designer said all profits on sales made between Nov. 27 and 29 will go to Voice for Nature, which was founded in 2006 by David de Rothschild and seeks to promote positive environmental change.
Her move is part of a larger strategy to extend full-price, seasonal selling; encourage investment purchases, and clamp down on discounting.
Hindmarch quoted Winston Churchill’s saying about never letting a good crisis go to waste, but added, “There is nothing good about this crisis. Change takes time, and we are far from perfect, but I hope that, little by little, we can keep improving the way we work and the impression we leave.”
She said the company had decided to use the “pause” of the pandemic “to reflect on the way that our business operates, and to reset our timetable to one that we think will better suit our customers, our business, and our planet.
“The cycle of more and more product, deliveries that are out of sync with the seasons, and the traditional ‘January sales’ creeping into November seems almost ridiculous when looked at afresh. More importantly, the lack of ‘longevity of wear’ is a serious threat to the planet and just seems to make no sense anymore.”
She added that Voice for Nature believes that “abundance, diversity, cooperation and exchange is what leads to innovation and evolution,” and that it’s only right that someone should be speaking up for planet Earth.
In an interview, Hindmarch said the fashion-cycle dynamics had been bothering her for a while, and that it was high time for change.
“People want to come back from the summer holiday and buy a new coat in September, so there’s no point in marking down in November. Businesses and the planet are suffering,” she said, adding that “endless” discounting, “too much product” and deliveries that come too early in the season are also damaging.
Hindmarch has made other changes, too: This year, she’ll be doing sales the old-fashioned way, starting on Dec. 26, rather than in November. “Why would you want to be in markdown in November — the busiest time of year?” she asked.
Summer stock will be discounted in July, rather than May. Hindmarch said she wants her stores to stock seasonal product, and she doesn’t want too much leftover merchandise or extra-long markdown periods.
Hindmarch has been making changes — and moves in the environmental space — all year. In February she launched “I Am a Plastic Bag,” creating graphic patterned totes using recycled plastic. The style was an extension of the immensely popular, cloth shopping bags Hindmarch launched several years ago that bore the slogan “I Am Not a Plastic Bag.” Those bags quickly sold out.
To promote the plastic bag project, Hindmarch closed three of her London stores during the weekend of London Fashion Week and filled them with plastic bottles to raise awareness about the detrimental effects of plastic consumption. She filled each store with 90,000 bottles, equal to six seconds’ worth of consumption.
The designer has also been working to integrate sustainable practices across her business, rethinking packaging and the materials she uses.