After watching many of my favorite influencers (@sharonsaysso is by far the most fun to watch) do subscription box try-ons, I decided to give it
Frank and Oak vs. Everlane: The Best of Ethical Fashion
Do you know the carbon footprint of your favorite t-shirt?
Fashion companies and customers alike are asking important questions about fashion’s environmental impact. Savvy shoppers look for clear answers about sustainable practices, labor rights and transparent pricing from clothing companies. Everlane and Frank and Oak are two examples that can proudly tell you where and how your clothes were made.
Frank and Oak brings sustainable practices to every aspect of their business, down to details like sustainable receipt rolls. Everlane is an American company best known for ethical labor practices and transparent pricing. Frank and Oak sticks to simple, timeless styles, while Everlane branches out into trendier territory.
Everlane and Frank and Oak have a specific focus on ethical fashion. Everlane’s focus is on ethical labor and sustainability. Frank and Oak uses sustainable materials and manufacturing techniques for their clothing.
Both of these are clothing companies, but Frank and Oak also offers a monthly subscription.
This company offers Style Plan, a monthly subscription service that offers clothing from their own line. The service isn’t especially sleek as far as subscriptions go, but it does offer free shipping and return shipping.
Before they ship your box, you’ll need to approve the items in it. You can easily switch out anything you don’t like for something that’s more interesting to you. When you do approve your box, though, the company will charge your card for everything in it. This isn’t standard for subscription boxes, so make sure you’re ready for a charge of a few hundred dollars.
Everlane is a fashion company that has built its brand on affordable clothing made in more ethical factories. Customers can see where their leather jackets are made, or where they have nylon bags made.
Everlane also has transparent prices and gives example breakdowns of how much it costs for them to make and transport each item. They have detailed lists of the factories they use to make their clothes, and you can actually see pictures of the factories and workers. The idea is to assure customers that these are ethical factories, and to get people used to looking at where and how their clothes are made.
- Minimalist style
- Easy to try items out
- Sustainability woven into company
Frank and Oak has a distinct design vision, and their clothing reflects that. Items are comfortable and fuss-free, and come mostly in muted and neutral colors.
Though it’s not perfect, the Style Plan service lets customers try clothes on in person before buying. That option is especially appealing because most customers can’t make it to a Frank and Oak store. With Style Plan, potential customers can try things out and find items that fit well.
Their vision of sustainability includes all aspects of the business. The company uses very little packaging for their subscription box, for example, and offsets the carbon used in shipping.
- Slow returns
- Not much mention of labor standards
- Limited selection
The company’s return policy gives them 15 business days to process your return, plus another 3-5 to send the money back to your account. This means you can be waiting up to a month to get money back. This inefficient system gets annoying quickly.
The company says it has a close relationship with the sustainable factories they use for manufacturing. However, they don’t mention anything about fair wages or safe working conditions in those factories.
Frank and Oak’s minimalist vision means that they don’t have a very wide variety of garments. There are only a few pant styles, for example, and most of the variety comes from the color and fabric type.
- Reflects current trends
- Ethically made and some sustainable options
- Lots of options
Everlane has many more options than Frank and Oak. There are trendier items, like puffy-sleeved blouses and snakeskin-printed boots.
Ethically made clothing is hard to find. Everlane uses factories that offer livable wages and safe working environments. That commitment is worth a lot to shoppers looking to avoid sweatshops.
It’s hard to find trendy clothes made using ethical, sustainable practices. Part of that is because trendy clothes have a shorter shelf life, and it makes more sense to produce clothes that will be in style for years. Everlane captures trends for people looking to stay current and still shop consciously.
- Inconsistent sizing
- Not as many sustainable options
My biggest complaint about Everlane is a nearly incomprehensible size chart. The sizing on Everlane items varies a lot between items. There’s a separate chart for almost every item. Between three XS tops, the chest measurements vary between 14 inches, 40 inches, and 36.75 inches. That’s a huge difference even accounting for an oversized fit.
Detailed information is always welcome, but most people don’t want to measure their thigh circumference before buying a pair of pants. Some of the size charts list body measurements, while others list the garment measurements. Why make things so confusing for customers?
Everlane doesn’t have as many sustainable items as Frank and Oak. The company is working toward using only organic cotton and eliminating plastic from its supply chain by 2023, however.
Frank and Oak sells accessories, tops, bottoms, shoes and outerwear. The cheapest items are accessories, like their organic cotton socks, which are around $12 per pair. The most expensive pieces are outerwear and footwear, with a maximum around $200.
The Style Plan subscription has a $25 styling fee per box, and that money is credited toward any purchases you make.
The website has frequent sales, especially between seasons, so you can get a deal if you keep an eye out.
Everlane’s prices range from around $20 for tank tops and basic tees to about $300 for a wool coat. They list average competitor prices next to their own, cheaper ones, showing how you can still save money while shopping ethically. Some of their prices actually approach fast fashion prices.
They have “transparent pricing,” which means that the company shows a price breakdown for the cost of production for each item. They sell directly to customers instead of selling wholesale to other companies, and this model lets them keep prices low.
Their online store has a robust sale section, with items up to 60% off.
Both companies have strong brand visions that involve ethics and sustainability. They both aim to steer customers away from fast fashion toward paying a little more for better quality.
Frank and Oak has already made remarkable strides in using sustainable fibers and techniques to make their clothes. Their sage green “minimal” logo marks items made with sustainable materials, like organic cotton or recycled polyester.
Their clothes are designed with recycling in mind. For example, they don’t put rivets on their jeans because those make recycling much more difficult, and reduce the amount of fabric that can be reused. They tend to use natural fibers as much as possible, as opposed to polyester, which is made using petroleum and doesn’t biodegrade easily.
The company aims to eliminate virgin plastic and polyester from their company’s use by 2022. They plan to add more carbon offset programs and use more renewable energy in company buildings.
The company doesn’t emphasize any commitment to labor rights, however. Their Factories page shows a map of locations, and implies a close working relationship with those factories, but never actually says anything about worker wages or factory conditions.
Everlane has photos of the interiors of the factories they work with, and they look for companies that score high on fair wages and other standards. They don’t delve too deeply into the specifics here, but they do show lots of photos of workers looking happy.
All their denim is made in a factory that recycles 98% of its water and uses renewable energy. Their silk tops are dyed by a facility that’s certified by Bluesign to avoid over 900 damaging chemicals.
They use recycled wool, polyester, knits and cashmere in some of their clothes, and those items are clearly indicated. Their goal is to completely stop using virgin plastic in their supply chain by 2021. They also aim to use only organic cotton by 2023.
These two brands tap into a similar modern, minimalist aesthetic. They both offer timeless styles that will ideally last customers years, instead of ending up in a landfill after only a few wears.
Everlane is more well-known and produces clothes that incorporate more trends.
Frank and Oak specializes in timeless, unembellished clothes. Their clothes have sleek lines and minimal silhouettes designed for comfort and function. That vision means that they only produce a few different designs for each type of garment. There are a handful of jean cuts, three blazers, four types of blouses, and so on.
Frank and Oak focuses on designing clothing to be as sustainable as possible. They use techniques like special fadeproof dyes, dynamic stretch fabrics, and ripstop fabric to keep clothes wearable and out of the trash. Long-lasting design is part of their understanding of sustainability.
The clothes on their website wouldn’t look out of place anytime in the past few decades. They have a distinctly minimalist, almost brandless feel that’s hard to find elsewhere. They carry sizes from XXs to XL, or 00 to 14.
Everlane has plenty of variety in their stock, with lots of different designs available. Some of their items, like the box-cut tee, have devoted followings.
They manage to make minimalism look trendy by adding details like cropped cuts, oversized fits and stylish fabrics. For example, they have a series of corduroy pants in deep colors that evoke the current 70s resurgence.
The brand also has some more trendy items, like bodysuits, snakeskin-print boots, and cropped blouses. Everlane has sizes from 00 to 16, and you can see the clothes on models of different sizes.
Frank and Oak has a clear, specific vision for their minimalist designs. If you’re not a fashion minimalist, you can still enjoy their pieces as basics and wardrobe staples to support other, flashier garments. They have lots of organic cotton pieces, from basic t-shirts to socks.
Everlane has a wider selection that incorporates more trends. If you’re looking for bolder pieces, you might prefer this company. Their slightly-cheaper prices and trendier styles mean that this company is more likely to appeal to most customers.
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