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Brief Published: 24 Nov 2015

Vitsoe’s Anti-Black Friday: Against Obsolescence


British furniture company Vitsoe is discouraging willful consumer spending on Black Friday, November 27, by closing its London and New York stores in a stance against design obsolescence.

Opposed to the wasteful mindset of planned obsolescence – where objects are deliberately designed with a limited lifespan so consumers have to replace or buy the object again – Vitsoe is refreshing its core ethos, encouraging longevity via furniture pieces that are made to last. On Black Friday both stores will be closed (with assistance still available by phone), while furniture pieces will remain at single, honest prices.

The culture of discount buying – exemplified by Friday’s anticipated shopping frenzy – feasts on obsolescence, argues Vitsoe. “Artificially stimulating sales to encourage a short-term desire to spend is antithetical to a world of depleting resources in which our purchasing decisions must be considered ever more carefully,” the company says.

With European sales this Black Friday expected to top £1.5bn for the first time (the UK accounting for two-thirds of this), and US shoppers set to spend £1.72bn, up 16% on 2014, Vitsoe’s bold and ethically-focused strategy will appeal to the loyal and conscientious consumer triggered into buying built-to-last furniture pieces over sustainable concerns about the environment and waste.

Vitsoe is just one of the growing list of brands standing up to their ethical ethos with anti-consumerist initiatives. REI’s #OptOutside campaign will see the activewear brand close all of its US stores on Black Friday to encourage shoppers to spend more time outdoors, while Patagonia’s Worn Wear campaign urged consumers to repair their existing Patagonia items, rather than buy more.

In terms of enduring design, we look at that brands that promote longevity through well-designed product in New Classic Design, from The Austerity Opportunity Industry Trend. For wider insights on building lifelong product relationships, look at our Sustainable Futures report.