I think that Everlane is more sustainable than the average fast fashion brand, but it does not do enough to match up to its narrative of an environmentally conscious fashion line. Furthermore, if it really is “radically transparent” there is a lot more information it should provide, such as data on fossil fuel emissions. The fact that the brand tells about the good they are doing for the environment but keeps the darker details private does not allow me to categorize it as truly transparent.
Everlane’s website states that their swimwear is made from recycled plastic, specifically recycled nylon called ECONYL. The square-neck one piece is made from 82% ECONYL and 18% elastane. Elastane is an environmental pollutant, but Everlane’s website also acknowledges this and states that they are working on producing recycled elastane.
While all of Everlane’s swimwear is made from ECONYL, their other clothing is made from regular nylon, the production of which releases nitrous oxide. Nitrous oxide is a greenhouse gas with great impact on the environment, so it’s questionable that they don’t choose to use recycled nylon outside of their swimwear line.
I think it’s great that the sustainability page is easy to access on Everlane’s website, but if they are mainly marketing themselves as a sustainable brand, then more than just a portion of their products should be sustainable.
Everlane is working with its distribution center to lessen waste, and states that they are 100% landfill-free. I think this is an important step, because they make so many products that undoubtedly create a huge amount of waste, but they are taking action to deal with it.
However, information about their factories is unclear. Their website mentions that factories are LEED certified and they audit for criteria such as energy use and carbon emissions, but does not specifically state what the factories do to reduce carbon emissions or energy. Furthermore, Everlane has reportedly 30 factories worldwide, in various countries and continents, so the shipping of materials across the globe is highly unsustainable.
Overall, Everlane markets itself for its sustainability and transparency, but only some of their apparel is sustainable and they lack transparency in terms of factories and worker treatment. Alarmingly, many employees have complained about unfair treatment including incidents of racism and an overall lack of diversity at the office. Everlane also controversially had layoffs after some employees stated they were unionizing. While they deny that the layoffs had anything to do with the union, many employees contest this claim.