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Affordable Access to Fashion and Education in SF

April 2015

By Anna Acquistapace , San Francisco

I remember buying my first couple of t-shirts at Everlane, an exclusively online clothing brand, a few years ago. At the time, I was mostly attracted to the fashionable cut and colors of the clothing and the extremely affordable price tag. I can’t remember any time in my adult life that I paid only $15 for a

t-shirt. I was also vaguely aware that this startup was aiming to do things differently and innovate on the well-established models in the apparel industry.

As my interactions with the Everlane brand multiplied, I was continually surprised and impressed by the delivery of its sophisticated online shopping experience. The shopping experience usually starts in my inbox. Their emails often announce a new product that is “coming soon.” I am immediately drawn in by the sense of upcoming release date, especially since I know they sometimes sell out quickly of the first run. If I know I want to order the item, I can get on the waitlist to purchase on the day it comes out. There’s a privilege that comes with following their every move which keeps me both engaged and feeling special. In addition, the minimal, stylish aesthetic of their photography and video is like a breath of fresh air compared to other cluttered and noisy places online.

The other standout about this brand for me is the commitment to its core value of “Radical Transparency.” Everlane gives me several different ways to experience transparency from how the clothing is priced to where the clothing is manufactured. For example, I can see real costs for materials, labor, transportation, and their markup of every item on their website so when I buy something I know what I’m paying for. There are also photos and backstories for every factory they work with all over the world so I can feel the human side on what I’m buying. Having access to the real story behind my clothes makes me feel respected and reassures me that the company is also acting in a responsible way. Overall, it’s like no other online shopping experience I know of.

The online education platform Skillshare is another brand that I really connect with. It gives me the chance to get out of my day-to-day routine and learn something new. Over the past year, I’ve taken 8 courses on varying subjects like photography, project management, using Adobe Creative Suite software, and writing. Geared towards feeding my creative side, it’s my partner for personal development which I see as highly culturally relevant today. It’s not enough to just get a degree because the world is moving too fast. The Skillshare manifesto speaks to me: “The future belongs to the curious.” Skillshare also accommodates my need for flexibility by allowing me to take the class whenever I want. Unlike a traditional class, the Skillshare classes are always open and are divided into short lesson chapters so I can advance at my own pace. Furthermore, the annual membership structure means I have full access to all classes for a set (and highly affordable) fee which makes it easy to budget for.

I’m excited by affordable access I get from both Everlane and Skillshare. Both categories, designer fashion and education, are typically closed off by traditional barriers, but these brands are changing that.

Everlane Radical Transparency, San Francisco
Skillshare Online Education Platform, San Francisco
Skillshare, San Francisco

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