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Everlane has put a Price on our Environmental Guilt

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at BU chapter.

Google “sustainable fashion brands,” and Everlane is one of the first companies in the search results. A popup window on the website offers 10% off, and advertises the company’s “exceptional quality, ethical factories, [and] radical transparency.” But how transparent is the company’s marketing really, and more importantly, is it even possible to align sustainability with achieving the bottom line that a company demands?

Though Everlane undeniably is more ethical and sustainable than many brands such as Zara and H&M, their website comes with many impressive claims on their materials, factories, and employees, with photos of every factory with details such as number of employees and why Everlane works with them, names of owners, and stories about the materials. Everlane seems like a clear solution to being able to shop without feeling guilty about the environmental impact.

Credit: WFTO Europe

However, Everlane is not third-party certified by any organization such as Fair Trade or B-Corp. This means that their factory list might not be a complete list, the photos of factories provided may not be completely representative of the working conditions, it’s unclear how often or which parts of the supply chain are audited to ensure Everlane is up to its own standards — leading the New Yorker to claim that the most radical part of Everlane might be in its marketing.

Credit: Dearly Bethany

Furthermore, Everlane seems to have been collaborating with many YouTube creators, sending them clothes to test out. In some cases, they have given YouTubers $1000 worth of store credit to spend.

Credit: Vogue

This is where encouraging sustainability and owning a fashion brand seem to become very different things.

Sustainable fashion is largely focused on buying only what you need, and buying secondhand if possible in order to minimize the number of new clothes each person is buying. Fashion brands are (primarily) focused on earning money, as any business is. If they can increase their profits by emphasizing the environmental good their company is doing, or if they can help the environment slightly while making money, it’s an added bonus for them.

So the issue is: how can Everlane and other “sustainable” fashion brands still be good for the environment, overall, if they encourage customers to buy more things that they probably don’t need?


This is a fundamental issue that cannot be resolved by traditional clothing business models, no matter how “radical” they claim to be. The only way to truly be more sustainable in fashion is to shop less, shop secondhand, and shop local. 

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Angelina is a sophomore at Boston University, majoring in Public Relations. Originally from the Bay Area, California, she is currently still adjusting to experiencing real seasons. Her hobbies include looking for cheap flights, listening to "Why'd You Push that Button," and going to Trader Joe's.
Writers of the Boston University chapter of Her Campus.