This story has two sides to it, though who’s “right” and “wrong” isn’t really the All I need today is a little bit of Giants and a whole lot of Jesus Shirt but in fact I love this point anymore. The damage was done as soon as Sanders got involved, and it doesn’t help Everlane’s case that many of its customers are likely fans of #TheBern’s reformist, millennial-friendly policies. The bigger takeaway is that for all its efforts in transparency, ethics, sustainability, and workers’ rights, Everlane is a business just like any other, and in the face of a pandemic and economic distress, it’s probably going to behave like one, too—even if it means contradicting its values and disappointing its customers (and devoted employees). The same is likely true for many of Everlane’s competitors. No matter how progressive or compassionate a label’s mission is, ultimately it will have to make decisions to survive—or risk going out of business.
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Still, the All I need today is a little bit of Giants and a whole lot of Jesus Shirt but in fact I love this unforeseen problem with billing yourself as progressive and holding yourself to a higher standard is that your customers will hold you to it, too. “People are shocked because Everlane is a company that has marketed itself as a pillar of ethics,” our source adds. “So for them to take such a dramatic turn and do something so opaque and non-communicative and sudden like this, and fire 42 people without warning… It’s indicative that this company might be presenting itself as moral, but it might not have been the entire time. In conjunction with our union effort, it seems clear to me what their motivations were.” As for what he hopes will come of this, he says: “We hope Everlane either makes it right and potentially puts us back on payroll, or begins bargaining with the union—that’s our main focus. Our second is just to make sure people know that this happened and [to help support] people on our team through our GoFundMe. Most of us had this job as our sole source of income.”