When Everlane launched online in 2011, it produced its first product, a T-shirt, out of a factory in Downtown Los Angeles before quickly emerging as one of fashion's first digitally native, direct-to-consumer success stories. Despite effectively positioning itself as the anti-store — a more affordable, transparent, classic and generally better alternative to the marked-up or unethically produced clothing that hung on racks in traditional retailers — Everlane has found itself in a traditional position: strategically opening brick-and-mortar stores in key cities. The latest? Los Angeles, "where it all began." Though it's going about it in a non-traditional way.
As companies like Everlane make it easier to buy what we need online, the purpose of brick-and-mortar is changing. Everlane has held a number of pop-ups in L.A. over the years, all filling specific needs: There was a denim pop-up when the brand entered into the category, a Tread by Everlane concept shop to introduce the brand's first sneaker and a holiday pop-up at The Grove for gift-able leather accessories. And on Thursday, in a corner spot on Venice's Abbot Kinney Blvd., with a custom mural outside that reads "FOREVER," it's opening its first permanent spot in the city (and third in the U.S. following New York and San Francisco).
Like many urban-dwelling millennials, Everlane has long been a go-to for wardrobe staples for me, and walking into the sun-drenched, modest-sized shop felt oddly familiar in that there was not one item that I hadn't already seen online, and few that I hadn't either already bought or contemplated buying. For Everlane fans, it's not a place for discovery, but it is a perfect complement to the brand's e-commerce in that it offers those fans an opportunity to try everything on (including the jumpsuit Meghan Markle just wore). It's especially beneficial for jeans and footwear, to which much of the stores's square footage is dedicated. They're items that many shoppers are reluctant to buy without trying on, but that Everlane really excels in.
I'd long been eyeing the new-ish '90s Cheeky Straight Jean online and was very impressed to find that the $78 style fit almost exactly like a pair of vintage Levi's I have. (I didn't buy them for that reason, but if you're in the market for that kind of fit, I recommend!) I also left a few things behind that I did like, and loved feeling like I didn't need to make a purchase decision then and there, because the same items would likely remain available online for quite some time if I decide to pull the trigger.
The store also has you covered if you're in the neighborhood and just need to re-up on your favorite white T-shirt. And for those consumers who may not be as familiar with Everlane, the store is located on one of L.A.'s only streets that actually get a ton of foot traffic, from locals and tourists alike, so it's sure to generate new business, too. For shoppers who want a souvenir and/or a way to give back, the store is selling T-shirts that read "100% LA" with proceeds going to the ACLU.
Like the tight selection of clothes on offer, the shopping experience there is calm and not in any way overwhelming or intimidating. Sales associates were friendly and helpful but not pushy. There aren't too many bells and whistles: Signage explains the sustainable methods used to produce the brand's denim. There are quite a few fitting rooms; and if you do have to wait, an attendant will enter your phone number (if you're comfortable giving up that information) into a system that texts you when a room is ready, allowing you time to look around more or take a selfie in the very 'grammable arched corridor, pictured above. Each fitting room also has an iPad installed right outside, which shoppers can use to browse Everlane.com and add additional items to their cart and check out with their in-store and online purchases all in one transaction, and with free two-day shipping. And yeah, a lot of these details will probably aid in the retailer's ability to collect data from you, but who isn't these days?
I live on the east side of L.A., so given this store's location and this city's traffic problem I honestly may never set foot in it again, but if Everlane were to open one in my area I could see myself ending up there regularly, with it almost serving as a more grown-up, less controversial, 2019 answer to American Apparel. Williamsburg is evidently next on Everlane's list (set to open next month), and given that Silver Lake is basically L.A.'s version of that neighborhood, I think it could happen.
Everlane's first L.A. store is now open at 1101 Abbot Kinney Blvd. See more images of the space in the gallery below.