Transparency in apparel: Everlane as a barometer for global positive impact
International Journal of Ethical Leadership, vol.
Ethical leadership in the apparel industry is often catalyzed by individual personalities, for example, Patagonia’s Yvon Chouinard, yet the wider impact of leader-value promotion permeates the ethos of firm culture, rallying employees to adopt attitudes and behaviors that promote a flourishing enterprise. Some firms recognize and embrace interdependencies that shape the complex relationship between individual ethical values, the firm, and the enterprise value chain. Such a multi-level pluralistic view of ethical leadership – where individual leader-values drive positive impact throughout the stakeholder ecosystem – is notably applicable to resource-intensive globalized industries. This paper sets upon illuminating best practices in the apparel industry through a brief case study of Everlane, a privately-held retailer forged from the values of co-founder Michael Preysman to provide exceptional quality apparel manufactured in factories sharing a common ethical vision, and promoted to consumers with radical transparency. Valued (in 2019) at over $250 million, the 8-year-old firm is helping to re-define how an industry can better (and more profitably) collaborate with stakeholders to embrace sustainable principles to flourish as agents for world benefit.