Online clothing brand Everlane has built a cult following since it launched two years ago by working directly with factories to sell luxury basics through the web at a fraction of what they would retail for in stores. Its success has hinged on showing customers, in detail, the typical process behind hefty markups on designer T-shirts and backpacks and what they’re saving by shopping at Everlane, where items are mostly under $100.
Everlane is taking the idea of transparency a step further this week with a new section on its website mapping out the specific factories that make its merchandise, whether it’s $25 Ryan tees or $65 Fold-Over wallets.
Shoppers can browse pictures of the factories — from Dongguan, China, to Ubrique, Spain, to Los Angeles — and view the background of the owners, see how many employees they have, and read the story of how each product is made. (Everlane chooses factories in part based on what major designers they manufacture for, though naming names would cause them to lose that business, founder and chief executive officer Michael Preysman said.)
It’s a fascinating project that hits at the tail end of a year in which retailers from Gap to Joe Fresh have come under fire for harsh conditions at factories overseas after the tragic collapse of Bangladesh’s Rana Plaza garment factory in April. As a result, American consumers have been paying more attention to how their clothing is made, especially in the age of fast fashion, boosting the allure of a startup brand like Everlane.
The brand’s new section of its website, which it plans to introduce on Tuesday, is something other retailers may look to imitate.
8. Workers in the Chinese factory that make Everlane’s weekend bags and backpacks.
Some U.S. consumers don’t realize that many workers in Chinese clothing factories often have a better standard of living than in other countries, Preysman said.
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