How Everlane Uses Sustainability as a Driver of Innovation

Editorial TeamEditorial Team
May 13th, 2022
9:50 AM

With its formula of radical transparency, exceptional quality and ethical factories, Everlane is a successful fashion business that delivers superior consumer and environmental impacts.


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  Everlane is one of the pioneers of the transparent fashion supply chain. With an entrepreneurial working philosophy and a clear business model, the California-based clothing retailer has become one of the biggest names in ethical fashion. With a direct-to-consumer model and a focus on simple, timeless designs, the company navigates the worlds of both mainstream and conscious fashion.

On every Everlane product page, you'll see a breakdown of the product cost, so you'll know exactly how much of the final price goes to the company and to pay for shipping, materials and labour. This straightforward but powerful information is a great example of transparency. Even when those numbers don't really tell you anything on their own (and there is no third party to certify their accuracy), the information is a luxury that allows us to get a clearer picture and, with the help of other sources, can help us assess whether the price we are being charged is fair or not.

They also disclose a lot of information about the factories where their products are made, see Tee and Sweatshirt Factory and The Shoe Factory. Apart from the high level of transparency and simple designs, we like the fact that Everlane is just good business, they don't claim to be saving poor villages or donating money to X and Y because they are simply making products in the best possible way. Everlane was one of the first companies to disclose how much its clothes cost to make and sell, from materials to labour to shipping. As a direct-to-consumer company, it promised to cut out the middlemen and sell you high-quality clothing at a fair price. The company also shares information about where each iconic product is made, factory locations, images and the number of employees.    


Sustainability Initiatives

Everlane recently launched the buzzy carbon-neutral trainer, Tread, which uses recycled rubber, recycled plastic and leather from certified gold tanneries. And Everlane's denim The Factory, which featured in a memorable marketing campaign, recycles 98% of the water used and uses renewable energy. Another example is Everlane's ReNew collection, which is made from recycled fishing nets and plastic bottles.

Everlane is committed to achieving 100% GOTS organic cotton certification by 2023, which is a good start. And in 2018 it launched a "No New Plastic" pledge to eliminate 100% virgin plastic from its supply chain by 2021, including plastic products and packaging.

As for its progress, 97% of its apparel contains certified Global Recycle Standard recycled fibers. That material is made from recycling plastic water bottles, fishing nets, fabric excess from cutting patterns, and other items otherwise destined for the waste stream. 100% of its virgin plastic shipping bags are now made from either 100% recycled plastic or FSC-certified paper.

In addition, Everlane has gone above and beyond to ensure that its materials are produced under the most ethical and environmentally safe methods possible. As a Bluesignsystems partner, Everlane proves that harmful chemicals have been completely eliminated from the production process. Its materials also carry the Responsible Wool Standard, and Standard 100 by OEKO TEX. Everlane’s Roica® V550 stretch yarn is regarded as breakthrough innovation that has allowed us to make truly clean denim and ahs been awarded the Gold certification by Cradle to Cradle.    

Sustainability as a Driver of Innovation

Everlane's products - cashmere wool bags, Italian shoes and Peruvian pima cotton T-shirts - are timeless, and so they can be worn for years or even decades. Consumers receive information on how much they cost to produce, how much the company earns on each one and what the price is like versus the market.

The company has a golden promise to its customers, to be radically transparent. "We believe customers have a right to know how much their garments cost, we reveal the true costs behind our products, from materials to labour to transportation, and we take on the challenge of marketing them below the traditional retail market," the company says in its service promise.

Everlane has partnered with the best factories in the United States, Peru, Spain, Italy, China and Vietnam. It visits them frequently, builds strong relationships with them and applies a compliance audit to assess whether their wages are fair, their employees' working hours are reasonable and their production processes are environmentally friendly. Its goal: to have a score of 90 points or higher for each factory.

Beyond the business relationship, Everlane humanises, puts a face to its factories, tells their stories, describes their nearby landscapes, their people, their owner and their values and philosophy. It is a brand that connects the heart of the business with the consumer, the employee and other stakeholders.