I read an article today titled ‘See through clothing: the dawn of price transparency‘. It uses the example of online clothes retailers Everlane and DSTLD to make a point that providing consumers with more information about what they are buying can be profitable.
Neither brand claims to be everything to everyone. Rather, it appears that they are trying to better explain what am I to you.
In the case of Everlane, I am an online clothing retailer that spends $X on materials, $Y on labour, $Z on transportation and makes $XX margin. And, for DSTLD, I am an online clothing retailer that cuts out the middle man, respects workers rights, pays them fairly and cares about the environmental footprint of the fibre I use.
While the article states that ‘retailers are driving a shift in customers’ expectations based on price and product-sourcing transparency’, I think that may be giving a little too much credit to the retailers. Your opinion on this ultimately will come down to your views on market forces, but personally I think what consumers want plays a role here. At the end of the day a brand’s association with certain practices or values will only translate to sales if consumers value it (of course, alongside a host of other factors such as price and quality).
This is something that I strongly believe, so I better articulate it clearly. As consumers we are very powerful as a collective – we do not need to wait for companies to grow a conscious, governments to lead or somebody else to care. These things will all follow if enough of us know what we stand for.