- Online fashion label Everlane opened its first-ever physical store, in Downtown Manhattan, in December.
- The brand is known for emphasising quality, affordability, and ethical processes in its clothes.
- I visited its store to see if it could replicate those qualities in a brick-and-mortar location.
Online apparel brand Everlane has seen huge success while emphasising high-quality clothing made through ethical processes. In 2015, its sales were estimated to be $US35 million, up 200% from 2013. In 2016, the brand reportedly brought in another $US51 million, all while solely selling its clothing online.
After years of founder and CEO Michael Preysman insisting that his online fashion label would never go into physical retail, the brand finally took the leap and launched its first clothing boutique at 28 Prince Street in New York City’s SoHo neighbourhood.
I went to the store to see for myself what it’s like to shop there. Here’s what I found:
The fashion label is calling its first brick-and-mortar store “Everlane IRL,” and it matches the simple aesthetic of the online store.
Located at 28 Prince Street in SoHo, the store is bright and airy, and it was packed when I visited. The storefront is 100% glass, so you can see the whole store from outside.
Considering that it’s in a small storefront in SoHo, it feels pretty big.
It has high ceilings, giant skylights, and no fluorescent lighting.
The first thing you see when you walk into the store is a nice lounge area with boxed water, decorative plants, a neighbourhood guide, and photos of the denim factory.
It makes for a comfortable space to get some work done or take a break from shopping, if these visitors were anything to go by.
There are benches to sit and try on shoes at the front of the store. It was busy when I visited, but it didn’t feel terribly crowded because of how open the space is.
The shoe shop is small, but there’s an iPad set up to view the online store’s selection as well. Shoes are display-only, and you have to ask for assistance if you want to try anything on.
Next to the shoe display, there are more water boxes and neighbourhood guides available for customers.
There are signs all over the store explaining the brand’s commitment to transparency. For example, this sign states that for every item bought from this 100% Human collection, $US5 will be donated to the American Civil Liberties Union.
Another display has information about each of the factories Everlane uses around the world.
Across from the factory information, there’s a display with a pair of headphones playing the sounds of Everlane’s Los Angeles T-shirt production factory. The sign boasts that the brand donated its 2015 Black Friday profits to develop a wellness and education program at this factory.
Like on its product descriptions online, Everlane’s clothing labels contain information about its ethical practices, providing a link to its website to find out more.
Every pair of jeans has a tag explaining the brand’s sustainable practices.
#DAMNGOODDENIM is written all over the store. The denim is all priced at $US68 a pair.
Everlane has a decently sized denim collection, but it doesn’t have a ton of available sizes in-store. It was well-organised and there were always employees there to help, but this made no difference when I had trouble finding my size to try on.
Most of the denim is in one section, which was pretty crowded. There was denim scattered on other shelves around the store as well.
Right across from the women’s denim is the men’s section. It’s a lot smaller, with the entire men’s collection taking up the same amount of space as just women’s denim. Even though the men’s collection is limited, there were almost as many men in the store as there were women when I was there.
The women’s clothing was displayed very nicely, but it was scattered around the store. This display was right at the entrance, across from the shoes …
… and similar clothes were all the way in the back of the store, by the register. In between there was denim, menswear, and a few random clothing racks.
One inconvenient thing about shopping here is the limited size selection. The store only has one or two of each size on display for each item, so if you want to try anything on, you have to wait for it to become available.
The only part of the store with a reasonable size selection is the $US100 cashmere, all the way in the back of the store.
In the back of the store, there are benches and water available in a large fitting-room space. The rooms themselves are relatively small, but they were all empty when I was there. It was surprising how few people were trying things on, especially considering how busy the store was.
There was, however, a long line at the register. There were two aisles, but only one was open. The line moved pretty slowly, in part because customers were returning and exchanging online purchases in-store.
Instead of traditional registers, the store has iPads with card readers set up.
When I finally got to the register, I had to create an account on Everlane’s website in order to make a purchase. I couldn’t pay for anything until I had created an account and agreed to sign up for the mailing list.
Even though it had downsides like limited sizing and long lines, Everlane IRL stays true to Everlane’s commitment to transparency and simple, affordable clothes.
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