From my desk at London College of Fashion, I look directly onto Oxford Circus – and the normal end of the week hubbub, is being insipidly swollen by an ominous occurrence. Black Friday, what a wonderfully apt title for the start of the holiday season sales bonanza, Tis the season when the ‘wise’ retailers begin to actively prepare consumers for the arduous and sometime perilous trudge towards the ‘miracle’ Holiday gifts. Predominately the rock bottom prices are centred around high value purchase items, from home Audio visual equipment to new exhaust and wheel deals for your car; it’s a well aimed kick in the cargo shorts to the would be skittish and cautious consumer, a sharp tug on the well-stroked beard of the normally considered and contemplative.
Black Friday’ named as it is traditionally the day that the average US retailer will turn a profit for the year or go “into the black”. Like many of our fine consumerist traditions, it’s been adopted from our American cousins; Black Friday is the biggest shopping day of the year, in the biggest economy in the world. With over $59 billion spent across the four-day weekend in the US last year. Naturally the UK is hoping to emulate this success, with mega discounts and prices slashed before the great Christmas shop, this year even more Fashion retailers have thrown their woolly hats into the ring, retail giants such as Topshop, Urban Outfitters and Selfridges gifting up to 50% off.
The resulting feeding frenzy would make a Jaws movie look tame in comparison; the retailers expertly tempt, coax and cajole the shopper to purchase old stock to make way for the new. Die-hard seasoned shoppers camp out with sleeping bags, folding chairs and the requisite umbrellas, in order to be the first to experience that once in a year elusive bargain. Indeed, those who patiently wait for a jumble of keys to glitter and turn the glass door of the Aladdin’s cave like store – can be heard chanting the magical words ‘open says me’.
So before you don your empty rucksack and prepare to elbow your way towards a bargain – make a list of what you need, whist reciting the adage – ‘buy once and buy well’. Good luck and take full advantage of the money saving sales, recycle the clothes you are replacing and remember – a coat should be for at least year, not just for Christmas.