Is Company Transparency the Future of Fashion Marketing?

“At Everlane, we want the right choice to be as easy as putting on a great T-shirt. That’s why we partner with the best, ethical factories around the world. Source only the finest materials. And share those stories with you—down to the true cost of every product we make. It’s a new way of doing things. We call it Radical Transparency.”

I was actually first introduced to Everlane by a professor here at Western University. I was quite taken aback at how straightforward and simple the brand was. Everlane starts by mentioning how they have developed close relationships with all of their producing factories.

They even link it to a full world map that displays where every factory is located and have coined the hashtag #KnowYourFactories. However, it seemed a bit too good to be true, so I double checked on the map and sure enough, there were factories in both Italy and Peru.

Then they have a section right below with articles that detail the origins, process, materials and owners of all the factories that Everlane works with. There’s even photos of people working as well. They do this in order to provide the full story to customers: materials, labor, transportation, or what is known as “the true cost.” 

This is applaudable because only a few companies currently employ these tactics, such as Patagonia. It’s definitely becoming more popular due to an increase in consumer awareness. However, in efforts to make customers trust the brand more, it can have the opposite intended effect.

How do customers know if these statistics are real? How do customers know if these pictures are real? These questions arise, but I also doubt that Everlane sets up photoshoots just to fool its customers.

An additional critique is that their merchandise is quite basic, but their justification is simple: quality over quantity. They carry high quality wardrobe-essentials like “cashmere sweaters, Italian shoes and Peruvian Pima tees.”

Though they might be simple and uniform, they seem to be vetted from harmful toxins and factory fires. This seems to be a trend amongst pricier, yet more sustainable fashion brands like Everlane, where plain equates to sophistication. The effect of this is that it can limit customers that desire bright colors, fun patterns, and noticeable logos.

It can produce a social discourse that limits honest brands to selling items that are simple and plain, simultaneously associating intricately patterned clothes with more labour, and thus with more immoral or dishonest practices.

Moreover, something very unusal and unfamiliar that Everlane did was on Black Friday of 2018. Instead of reeling in tons of revenue like most companies, Everlane refused to even have the site running on Black Friday. This is noteworthy, as it emphasizes the importance of staying in with family and celebrating aspects of life that don’t have to include shopping.

It seems like their entire culture is dedicated to being honest. There is added accessibility for the visuals on the website and a make your own career section. There’s a section for “text us” that establishes familiarity and comfort.

However, it seems like it’s all a bit too much to get customers to trust them. Every single detail of the site is dedicated to winning trust and showcasing Everlane’s integrity, but it seems a bit staged because of how much emphasis they put on the transparency itself.

Everlane is an example of what the future of fashion marketing could look like; however, there are still some critiques and drawbacks to this method.

Overall, it seems that fashion markets are having to adapt to more conscious and mindful shoppers, as it is getting more difficult to convince them.

However, as more companies become more transparent, this transparency may become skewed and falsified by what seems to be accurate data, only for us to come full circle in the world of fashion marketing.