In the age of transparency we have all become used to our lives on display. As Glassdoor becomes more popular, companies have had to act on employee feedback, and the new wave of office spaces – like ours at Pause for Thought – are literally transparent, with glass walls separating us from our neighbors.
Natural food brands have embraced transparency so that we are much more aware of the origins of what we eat. Customers now have knowledge of what goes into their food and they are empowered to make decisions accordingly.
In the arena of fashion, one brand has taken this to the next level with their promise of ‘radical transparency’. Everlane not only tells you where their clothing is made, they tell you the manufacturing costs and their profit.
They also compare their products to what you would normally pay, informing customers of the extraordinary 7X markup involved in fashion retailing.
Everlane started by making t-shirts in LA, and needed a way to explain to customers that the quality of their $15 t-shirt was equal to other ‘Made in America’ t-shirts that retail for $50. So they revealed their cost structure with an infographic to their customers. The infographic went viral and they have since built the company around this idea, doing the same for every product.
The second part of transparency is the factories. Everlane now have production all over the world. In contrast to common thinking, they have discovered factories in China have better wages and work environments than in the US. They feature each factory story next to the garment.
Everlane have encourage us to ‘Always Ask Why’. What do you know about your food, furniture fashion? What value are you getting, where is it made? We trust the brands and assume you get what you pay for. This might not be the case. If we always ask why we will end up with for-profit institutions that have lower markups, better conditions in factories and better products.