I've looked at the Good On You App before, but I took a closer look at it this week. I know in the past other bloggers have discounted Everlane as an "ethical" brand because it's rating on this app is "Not Good Enough". Here's an article that spells out Good On You's evaluation process. So TBH I kind of discounted the app (like "what do you mean Everlane is not good enough?!"--that was the fan girl in me talking lol). But then I checked the ratings of Zara and H&M, both of which are better than Everlane's at "It's A Start." So does this mean I'm better shopping there?! This was messing with my head a little since my whole thing for the last couple years was No Fast Fashion. I addressed it in an Insta-story to Everlane but got no response from Everlane (though the Good On You App noticed and replied to me). Also after that morning I went shopping at Zara for the first time in years.
And it finally dawned on me that instead of having a black-and-white view of "this brand is ethical and that brand is not ethical", the most sustainable and really ethical way to shop is to treat each new item as a valued treasure that's meant to be used well. In a sense it doesn't matter where you bought it from, as long as you don't over-consume, the quality feels good, and it's something you use well. For example, if I got 30 Everlane things that I used only once but only 1 Zara thing I used 30 times, then the more sustainable and ethical way is the latter. Or in other words treat that Zara item as you would that Elizabeth Suzann item (which I know is easy to say but harder to do).
As for my shopping experience in Zara, it was pretty interesting to say the least. I tried on a lot of things and bought two. I do think another way to be a more mindful and ethical shopper is to only let yourself buy two things max at one time, whether it's cheap or not. It's hard to use your clothes well if you end up getting a bunch of new things at once. Anyway back to Zara, I noticed that most of the clothes I had picked out where labeled as made in Morocco. A bit of research shows that Inditex did try to hold Morocco manufacturers to some ethical standards (though I don't know if they were successful or not) and that even though Morocco is a major hub for fast fashion in general, at least their workers are paid more than those in Southeast Asia. Anyway I purchased 2 items, both made in Morocco. One was a 100% linen tank and the other was a cotton blend jacket (blended with a synthetic so I was really iffy on this but let myself buy it--I hope I don't regret it). Also as I was shopping in Zara, I realized that my wardrobe in recent years (since ceasing to shop at fast fashion stores) has become a lot more plain. I don't mind since I like simple clothing, but sometimes it's nice to have a bit of embellishment or lace details. And finally, I don't know if it's because I chose what felt to me to be quality garments, but Zara isn't as cheap as I remembered. Two items cost me almost $100! I guess that is more reasonable than a jacket and top from Everlane, which would probably be closer to $150. But still Zara isn't dirt cheap, which hopefully means they are paying their suppliers and factory workers more than they used to (but who knows).
As for my future with Everlane, I'm not too sure. I still love their stuff but I might have to shift my thinking and lump them in with Zara and Uniqlo. I do feel a bit betrayed by the fact that a third party rates them below fast fashion brands in terms of ethics because Everlane's whole spiel is based on ethical manufacturing. It's not like Zara and Uniqlo try to pass themselves off as "better" or more ethical, but here's Everlane saying they're better when they are actually worse in terms of proving their ethics! Here are more articles showing Everlane is not what they say they are: this one is my favorite, one from the New Yorker (which made me realize almost all their popular shoes are rip-offs from other designers. This article sites the Day Heel as a copy of Maryam Nassir Zadeh's pumps), and this one. I have a couple more items coming from Everlane to review and I really wanted to get their denim skirt (thats coming soon). But after that I might cool it with them since if I lump them in with Zara, I couldn't imagine buying 5 items from Zara a month so I shouldn't do the same for Everlane (though I did only keep 2 of those items). Maybe in general I should just limit purchases to 2 a month in general (so max 24 items of new clothing a year, which is more than enough really).