Image credit: Everlane
When I find a new brand I usually test the water before posting on my blog buy making a purchase and seeing if it is as good as I hope it will be. I've been unable to do this with this brand, Everlane, as they are based in the USA and therefore shipping (though not impossible) is quite expensive, but I did think the brand would be worth talking about in a post because of their groundbreaking sales methods.
Everlane believe in a culture of transparency throughout their production and retail. They have a simplified ethic: know your factories, know your costs, always ask why. By creating working relationships with factory owners and ensuring workplace compliance, the brand is able to carefully chart every aspect of the journey of a new piece of clothing; from cloth cost and pattern cutting to garment construction and advertising. Instead of the usual 8x markup you would find on the high street, Everlanes' online exclusivity negates the need to include bricks and mortar costings in their final retail prices. The result? Incredible quality, simplistic clothing and incredibly modest pricing.
What drew me to the Everlane brand was their extensive use of some of my favoured materials. Silk, linens, wool and cotton; most fabrics are based in nature and carefully selected to be made into the specific product. Clicking through the site, you can look at, say, a pair of tailored high waisted shorts. Clicking on the 'traditional retail price' of $115, you are shown a breakdown of the product's actual cost: $8.72 for materials, $3.05 for hardware, $5.15 for labour, $3.08 for duties and $1 for transport, leading to a true garment cost of $23. The price on the site is $50 for the garment, whereas it would be $115 in a retail store.
This pricing transparency is interesting and eyeopening. It is obvious that retailers are intending to make money, otherwise they wouldn't have a business, but the markup is actually quite staggering. I suppose that if they are a bricks and mortar retailer they will have greater overheads to consider, but this honest and fair approach on pricing and sourcing is integral to the ethic of the brand and actually lends it weight; if more retailers took heed I believe there would be greater benefits for both consumer and supplier.
The silk blouses retail at around $78 on the site which equates to about £50 in English money and whilst I am always buying silk shirts in charity shops, if I was to buy one 'off the peg' I would probably look to spend closer to £100, and I don't know if I would struggle to find a shirt made from 100% silk; more often than not these days they are a blend or a silk-handle fabric that just doesn't have the properties of the real thing.
If you are interested in having a look at the site, you can check it out here. If you want to make a purchase you can get product shipped to the UK through HopShopGo which allows trackable shipping to the UK for US brands.