As the weather cools down and we look for ways to maintain our fashionable style during the bone chilling mornings and below-zero evenings, most of us look to layer on the basics. One afternoon, I reached for my trusty long-sleeved white top when I realized that it had pilled to the point of no return. Taking a closer look at my closet, it turned out that most of my basics had become so worn that they were either embarrassingly see-through or stitching was coming loose. Should I really have been surprised? I had bought most of these items from tables piled high with mass-produced mountains of $20-and-under polyester tops, not taking into consideration their long term value (basically, zero). I decided then and there to start shelling out a little more for high quality, well-tailored basics that weren’t from traditional retailers in the mall. That's when I came across Everlane.
Clockwise from top: The Modern Loafer, $165; The Swing Trench, $138; The Petra Crossbody, $365; The Silk Round Collar, $78; all available at everlane.com.
What is Everlane?Founded in renowned start up–central San Francisco in 2011, the term ‘luxury in simplicity’ could not be better expressed than by this blogger-favorite brand. Everlane is an online retailer that sells minimalist, luxury essentials in sumptuous fabrics and flattering styles that easily adapt into every wardrobe. With prices as low as $25 for a perfectly tailored white pocket tee and $65 for a stylish canvas backpack—plus designs cut from fine cashmere and merino wools—it's easy to wonder who’s being neglected along the supply chain and how Everlane's turning a profit. Yet, part of the package is complete honesty between the consumer and corporation. How do they operate? With a click on a product such as their newly released Petra crossbody bag, you learn about the factory in which it was made, as well as what it cost to make that item at each stage. Every number, down to the price of transportation and labour, is indicated through well-designed infographics, educating the customer on the quality of the product they’re purchasing, as well as the ethical standards of its production. Instead of the typical retail markup of 800 percent, Everlane maintains a markup of only 2x what it actually cost to produce an item. By designing in-house, maintaining tight control of their inventory, and remaining an e-commerce retailer, Everlane is able to pass on the savings to the consumer while spreading out fair compensation among their factories and garment workers. How are they enhancing your shopping experience? In a time when outsourcing is such a hot button issue precluded by horrifying events, such as the collapse of the Rana Plaza factory last year, creating a sense of trust between the retailer and the consumer is exactly what businesses should be striving to do. Everlane goes the extra mile to connect with its customers by using social media to ask for suggestions on online content and replying directly to questions posted, which has led to a loyal and loving following of the brand. After signing up to receive their newsletter, a customer service rep even emailed me personally to see if I had any questions about their products. All this combined, and it’s easy to understand why Entrepreuneur Magazine has named Everlane one of the 25 most innovative consumer and retail brands of 2014. They’re starting the conversation on retail transparency of big-time corporations, as well as setting the example for modern customer service for other start-ups. For more fashion news, visit our Style Desk blog.