Last year, Christopher Raeburn protested against everything Black Friday represented by promoting the Snow Leopard Foundation and hosting a well-received workshop where participants made snow leopards out of repurposed fabric. This 2018, the designer still sees the mass consumerism the day encourages as problematic, and has decided to completely opt out of event.
The act comes as no surprise to those familiar with the designer and his eponymous brand. Unlike other labels that may be riding on the trendiness of sustainability, Christopher Raeburn has been dedicated to the cause since day one. His creations are a cross of functional and stylish, but they go one step further by being made with sustainable options. Free repair is even offered so that the clothes can be used for a longer time. The designer’s philosophy is best summarized by his own words: “It’s about buying less but better.”
So, while other companies were dropping the prices to unbelievable cuts for the sake of enticing more customers, Christopher Raeburn has shut its stores—both physical and online—to keep visitors from impulsive shopping. The move was announced on Instagram right before the anticipated worldwide event, thrown in with a #BuyNothingDay. The pop-up store in East London has been closed for the day, and the shop section of the label’s website has been disabled. Justifying the radical decision, the label said that it was challenging itself to go against the sway of the shopping tradition.
The problem with the big discounts that come with Black Friday, according to the brand, is that they can often lead to unnecessary purchases because it lets consumers assume that the deal is too good to give up, when there should be a focus on quality, although that often has a less desirable price. On its Instagram post, the brand makes a challenge, “We need to start making considered choices; buying less but better.” Christopher Raeburn further encourages Black Friday shoppers to think thoroughly before checking out their items. The shutdown was only during Black Friday as retail channels were reopened the day after.
A greater opportunity to spread the cause
We have yet to see how Raeburn will champion sustainability for Timberland—the British designer has recently been appointed as the global creative director of the American brand, and is set to introduce his first collection by autumn/winter 2020.
But it’s not as if the company is behind. In fact, its shared passions of responsible design and mindful work with Raeburn are what connects them. The designer spoke of his admiration for Timberland’s Earthrangers, and quite recently, we have seen a preview of what the team-up would look like as the latest London Fashion Week was host to the the collaboration’s capsule collection. Raeburn, who will be splitting his time between his brand and Timberland, will prioritize responsible sourcing. With its 2020 sustainability goals, Timberland making the choice to appoint Raeburn seems timely.
Image credits: Tolga Akmen / AFP, Giovanni Giannoni / WWD, AFP, Adam Katz Sinding, Regis Colin Berthelier / NOWFASHION