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Last week, Everlane officially opened up the doors to its first brick-and-mortar store. The online basics brand has long maintained that it had no plans to open any retail locations, and if they did, it wouldn’t be the typical apparel retail experience you’re used to. Dubbed "the Fit Studio," the space will be a testing grounds for the brand to experiment with different retail concepts.
While there are some thoughtful details throughout the store (notches that keep hangers evenly spaced on racks; shades between dressing rooms that can be rolled up when friends want to share) there isn’t too much about the shopping experience that seems all that "disruptive" to the typical J.Crew and Gap store setup — which is a surprise, coming from a brand that made its name by shaking up the way we shop for basics.
On the other hand, maybe that’s just the point — Everlane has stripped down the retail experience to its bones, as the brand has done with its utterly simple products. There’s nothing cluttered or extraneous here, and the minimalist aesthetic not only mirrors the look of the clothes, but allows them to be the focus.
Located on the ground floor of the company’s Mission District headquarters, the shop is well-stocked with popular existing styles, and the website promises that the store will carry all new product releases as they are launched.
"At Everlane, we've always set out to fix problems, and we saw a huge opportunity to make the traditional in-person shopping experience better," explained Alyssa Bergerson, Everlane’s in-house PR representative, via e-mail.
Another brand rep elaborated: "We carry around 100 styles, including pants and shoes, which are traditionally a bit harder to find your fit online. While the shop is largely self-service, stylists will be on hand to answer customers’ styling and product questions as well as help with checkout. We have found that everyone shops differently and we are giving customers the tools to create their own experience."
Or in order words: It’s a regular store, where you can try things on and buy them, and ask a clerk for help should you need it.
Everlane has previously hosted experimental pop-up shops and "open studios" in New York, often including installations, snacks, and an educational element. There’s a showroom located in New York too, but you can only visit with an appointment.
At least for now, we’re not seeing any of those elements at the concept shop. But according to a staffer in the new space, the fit studio was designed to be changed up constantly. Events and product launches — including an upcoming launch of a new commuter backpack, which will also hit the road with pop-ups in New York, Chicago, LA, and DC — will regularly be held at the store. And as Bergerson told us, "we look forward to learning from our customers and seeing the shop evolve."
So stay tuned; it looks like Everlane plans to perfect the IRL shopping experience the same way the brand has perfected their shiny loafers and work-friendly trousers: bit by bit, with lots of input from its customers.
Everlane Fit Studio
2170 Folsom St.
San Francisco, CA 94110
Correction: August 3, 2016
An earlier version of this story referred to the Fit Studio as a permanent store. While there is no set end date for the shop, we have been asked us to clarify that the shop is an experimental space rather than a permanent store.