Is Everlane THAT Ethical?
Obviously the idea of sustainability is still buzzing in many industries. Every fashion company is curating campaigns that highlight its efforts to become a more sustainable and eco-friendly brand. Because of this, it's easy to perceive a respectable clothing brand as groundbreaking in this movement.
Unfortunately, many of these brands are simply implementing small initiatives that don’t really do much, but make them a superstar in the eye of the public (cough, cough, the “recycle your old clothes” trend). It seems as though one small push to be ethical, sustainable, transparent, or all of the above, immediately lands you an A++ in the eyes of consumers.
Queue Everlane. Everlane is an ethical retail brand that produces high quality clothing for an affordable price. The company prides itself on its “radical transparency” and “ethical factories.”
And yea, the brand is for sure pretty transparent—they offer information on each factory they manufacture in and even visually break down the costs of producing and transporting each garment they sell. The company also pays fair, living wages to its employees that produce the garments, a big stride comparatively.
But are they that ethical?
Yea, the company shares some information on the factories that produces its clothing. But it doesn’t state how much workers are paid, how much they work, or what their living conditions are. The photos of the factories look great and all, but how do we know the present an accurate representation of the conditions? We don’t.
They did recently start selling a sweater that is made out of recycled plastic. But I mean, it’s one sweater.
And cool, Everlane uses sustainable materials. But according to Good On You, a company that gives retail brands ethical ratings, the biodegradable fabrics they use take a LOT of energy and water to produce, which is bad for the environment.
In addition, the company uses leather, cashmere, and wool. AKA, animal products…AKA, PETA wouldn’t be happy. Everlane shares some great information on its website but is ultimately lacking in detail. We have little to no information about the company’s supply chain, the types of transportation it uses, its carbon footprint, etc.
Needless to say, the company is doing a lot better than most, but there is still room for growth. Everlane is a great example of how retailers can always strive to increase their transparency and promote higher ethical standards. Even Patagonia, one of the leading brands in the sustainability and eco-friendly movement, is continuously fixing its supply chain practices to ensure it is becoming more and more environmentally friendly.
It's never wrong to expect more from the retailers you purchase your clothing from. And it’s always good to be the most responsible consumer that you can be. Just be sure to take the time to do the research. We as consumers can’t expect for retailers to change unless we demand it.