Black Friday: one day everyone goes straight to the malls to go shopping. There are sales around every corner, and shoppers stand in long lines to tick off items on their wish lists. But the day after? Small business Saturday. An American holiday born to counter Black Friday in support of all small entrepreneurs. One day is the nation’s biggest sales day for all fast fashion brands and businesses, but the next day celebrates small businesses. How is it possible that these two days are ironically next to each other?
Fast fashion controversies are gaining more attention recently, as big companies like Zara, GAP and more recently SHEIN have been mentioned for how they have various negative impacts around the world, including environmental damage. Fast fashion describes a business model that makes large amounts of profit by leveraging various resources and mass production projects, often copied by other designers.
On July 16, 2021, the stylist of a black-owned fashion brand named Elexiay tweeted about how SHEIN had stolen her original design for a handmade crochet sweater. “[I] I’ve spent hours designing and brainstorming this design and it takes days to crochet each sweater. It’s quite disheartening to see my hard work reduced to a machine-made copy “, said the designer of Elexiay. Her sweater, an original handmade crochet design, cost $ 330 at the time she posted this tweet. However, the SHEIN product of the copied design was being mass-produced and marketed for $ 17. This is an example of how fast fashion companies make big, easy money by robbing small businesses of their original ideas and designs. Furthermore, these actions can cause even more damage because copies are often legal in the fashion industry, since the law does not allow copyright on “useful things, at least not in their entirety,” said Julie Zerbo. , the lawyer and journalist behind “The fashion law” blog, said NPR.
Many people around the world have realized the great damage that fast fashion creates. The hashtag “boycottShein” has been viewed and recognized on TikTok over 3 million times. Although this online awareness discourages shoppers from purchasing products from these companies, many fast fashion advocates point out that the average shopper cannot be blamed for having to buy a single item of clothing for its original price of hundreds of dollars when they affordable fast fashion companies provide a much cheaper alternative.
Largely due to the pandemic, small businesses have lost their voice and recognition. A sample from Harvard Business Review showed that “45% of small businesses have been temporarily closed”. As they are usually only known to a small group of local shoppers, they are mostly dependent on in-person shopping, which was not possible during the pandemic.
These small businesses are much more easily affected by multiple factors, such as changing trends and climate change. Additionally, fast fashion companies that steal designs from small businesses further prevent the original designers of those products from profiting from their work.
With this in mind, it makes sense to organize Black Friday, a traditional day that gives a strong boost to the fast fashion industry, which takes its place on the calendar just before Small Business Saturday, a party that highlights lesser activities. known that are often robbed by the same companies that make big profits from Black Friday?