Getting giddy about shopping and sales over the Thanksgiving holiday is an annual tradition. Black Friday markdowns take over the internet, and everyone’s getting ready to click that buy button tomorrow when the sales drop (and many already have). But this ritual often leads to unhinged consumerism that can damage our bank accounts and credit ratings, not to mention the environment.
But what if those would-be markdowns instead went to Indigenous and Black charitable organizations? What if, instead of joining the consumer mob, we supported retailers who donated a portion of their earnings?
This was one of the many ideas that bubbled up when fashion photographer Chloe Jackman, Tonle designer and founder Rachel Faller, and Art Of Citizenry founder Manpreet Kalra met earlier this year on a fashion shoot. They got to talking about how to support sustainable fashion as well as Indigenous and Black communities, plus encourage consumers to do the same. The result of their collaboration is Reclaim Collaborative, an affiliate network of brands committed to change, and its first initiative is Reclaim Black Friday.
From November 27-30 the team is calling on businesses to skip the deep discounts and instead redistribute a percentage of total sales to Indigenous and Black organizations. Participating retailers include including Bryr, Windy Peak Vintage, Meow Meow Tweet, tonle, Sotela, Grey Jays, Passion Lilie, Rosemarine Textiles, Lagusta’s Luscious, Slow Made and more. Similar to traditional affiliate networks often used by publishers to earn a fraction of sales, when you shop these retailers, a fraction of sales will support charitable organizations.
“Instead of offering sales and feeding into the environmental harm of consumerism, our hope is to encourage customers to support initiatives driven by communities whose ancestors were stolen from their lands, or who had their lands stolen from them,” Jackman said.
The beneficiaries of the campaign include Soul Fire Farm, Black Farmer Fund, Amah Mutsun Land Trus, DIGDEEP Navajo Water Project, The Black Hives Matter Project, Real Rent Duwamish. Reclaim Collective specifically chose to land-based organizations to bring attention to the original stewards of American land at a time when turkey-eating is often prioritized over fact-based history.
“Thanksgiving is steeped in America’s history of genocide and theft from Indigenous people,” says Manpreet Kalra. “The weekend of frenzied consumerism that follows further contributes to issues of racism and classism in this country. Reclaim Black Friday is dedicated to amplifying the work and voices of Indigenous and Black leaders, and a call to action for redistributing wealth to those who have suffered the most because of historic and continual exploitation in America.”
None of this do-goodery needs to dampen the fun and satisfaction of shopping during this traditionally consumerist time of year. Bryr clogs and shoes are perfect for running to the grocery story in our continued quarantine situation, and will transition nicely to that time (on the horizon?) when we can once again go out on the town.
Zero-waste fashion brand tonle’s sweats could not be more perfect for the upcoming stay-home holiday season. Lagusta’s Lucious makes some pretty sweet holiday gifts, and size-inclusive Sotela is down to outfit everyone on your list (or you) in cozy jumpsuits sweaters and separates.
“As a business that has benefitted from intersectional privilege, we are taking the Reclaim Black Friday pledge because we cannot truly be an advocate of slow fashion and sustainable living without actively working to dismantle the systems of oppression that are so deeply embedded in our capitalist society,” said Kristi Reed, founder of Windy Peak Vintage. “The redistribution of wealth and amplifying of Black and Indeginious leaders’ work is a small but important part of our journey as we continue to learn, expand and push forward.”
If you’re keen to learn more about Reclaim Black Friday, tune in on Friday, November 20th (tomorrow!), when Reclaim Collaborative will host a panel entitled “From Thanksgiving to Black Friday: Deconstructing America’s History and Future” at 11am Pacific time. The founders will discuss how we can all help to “dismantle the systems of oppression America has been built on.” The team will also host Instagram Lives throughout Thanksgiving weekend.