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Everlane Wants To Be the New American Apparel. Here's How They Do Cheap Chic So Well

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Everlane's tagline: "A $50 tee for $15"
Everlane's tagline: "A $50 tee for $15"

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Online-only e-tailer Everlane has been generating plenty of industry buzz since its launch in November. Despite all the press, however, the brand is still under-the-radar when it comes to consumers. On the eve of their first pop-up shop, we took a moment to find out what they're all about.

In a nutshell, Everlance sells chic basics for cheap: Think American Apparel, without the trendiness or the questionable ads. Everything on the site goes for under $100, and the company makes a big deal about how that's possible. On their homepage, they've created a graphic slideshow (the kind you can't click out of) to illustrate how they cut out "the middle man" and brick-and-mortar store costs to bring you a $50 t-shirt for just $15. "The Web is good for cutting costs on core basics," CEO Michael Preysman told the New York Times. He claims that's why even though Everlane's T-shirts are made in American factories, which require higher labor costs than overseas production, eliminating the overhead from a brick-and-mortar store allows prices to remain reasonable.

Don't confuse this for fast fashion, though. Zara and H&M's trend-driven inventory has nothing to do with Everlane's solid t-shirts and classic canvas bags. Even Uniqlo, which prides itself on basics, feels overwhelming compared to Everlane. "People need choice, but at some point choice is too much. You end up spending six hours browsing and more unhappy than when you started," Preysman says.



T-shirt, $15; tote, $35

He describes the collection as carefully edited, which is a nice way of saying it's extremely limited. There are only two styles of t-shirts in the main collection: A classic pocket-less crew and V-neck, both of which are made with 100% Supima cotton and go for $15. The new Ryan collection, which includes a pocket tee and a drapey tank, is slightly pricier at $25 and $20, respectively, and is 100% rayon. (It seems counterintuitive that the more expensive shirts are polyester, but then, so is most of Alexander Wang's T line, and his tanks go for $74 each.)

The remaning pieces in the women's collection are a $40 leather belt, which can be worn in a variety of ways, and two bags: a $35 canvas tote and a canvas weekender bag with leather detailing that goes for $95. If you happen to be in New York this weekend, you can test them all out yourself at the brand's SoHo pop-up shop. Otherwise, head to Everlane.com to browse.

· Site to Be Seen—Everlane.com [T Magazine]
· Fast-Fashion Face off: Here's How Uniqlo Compares to Zara, Gap, and H&M [Racked]