I have a friend in the fashion industry who designs accessories for big-name brands. She never buys clothes at retail because she knows better; namely the big mark ups. It does give you pause if you think a full-priced item at $200 might have cost $25 to make.
Have you heard of the online retailer Everlane? They sell basic clothing items, including silk tops, dresses, tanks, pants and weekender bags and totes. The designs are classic with a casual cool vibe, which includes cashmere. Their whole business philosophy is transparency to the nth degree, and I'm talking about pricing. For each item they sell on their website, they lay all their cards on the table: the story of the manufacturer, why Everlane works with them and trusts them. In an illustration, they reveal the breakdown of how much it cost them to manufacturer, and then how much they marked it up. Also compared is how much it would cost at a traditional retailer. According to their website, a brick-and-mortar retailer marks up their items 8x.
Here’s an example of Everlane’s cashmere crew from their new spring cashmere collection.
I find this concept refreshing and intriguing. I do feel less taken advantaged of as a consumer. Is transparency the new black? I hope so.