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Democratizing the design process at Everlane

How the fashion e-retailer used Abstract to create 'radical transparency' for their entire design and development team
Democratizing the design process at Everlane

Founded in 2011, Everlane is a technology-enabled fashion e-retailer known for its commitment to quality, ethically made basics, and radical transparency.

A technology company first

The digital product design team at Everlane partners closely with the product management and engineering teams to build innovative, customer-focused experiences both online and offline. They partner with stakeholders across the organization and act as a strategic arm and a design thinking partner for other business units like creative, digital marketing, brand, operations, and fashion design. “All these units come together under the Everlane umbrella,” says Jessica Karle, Digital Product Design Lead. “Our team’s work is to see where technology and design can have the biggest impact.”

Creating radical transparency

A fashion e-commerce site is always evolving. New products are added, styles change, new designs are introduced. With offices in New York and San Francisco, many designers are working on different aspects of the product. “It’s highly collaborative and often it’s hard to understand the source of truth for design files,” says Jessica.

Everlane was using Dropbox for file organization, but there was no good way for developers or product managers to have insight into what designers were working on. “Design is a sort of black box unless you use other tools to facilitate that communication,” adds Jessica. “And it was difficult to get insight into other designers' work.”

I’ve never used anything like it before. It’s so seamless, so much faster, and more collaborative than any othertool.

Jessica Karle | Digital Product Design Lead

Exposing the design process

Once they tried Abstract, they saw the value immediately. “The core challenge of managing work across the team was solved right away,” says Jessica. The team got up and running on Abstract quickly once they got a hang of the basic concepts of Branches, Commits, and Merges — terminology that was quite familiar to their engineering counterparts.

Saving hours in a designer’s day

Abstract helped cut out the last part of the design process — annotating files, exporting PNGs, or cutting assets and handing things off to engineering. “Now there is no handoff,” says Jessica. They don’t have to annotate or comment on Asana or Pivotal. All the Sketch files are in Abstract. Engineers and product managers can inspect files on their own. “They end up being more pixel perfect and it has saved every designer and engineer time,” adds Jessica.