For instance, a black organic cotton print T-shirt, advertised as vegan, organic and skin-friendly, costs about $110 (in the European Union, a price that includes the value-added tax) or $90 (elsewhere, without that tax). Among the extensive details customers can learn about the shirt online are that the hang tag (67 cents) is made of 100 percent wood-free cellulose and buffered with calcium carbonate, and the T-shirt itself was knitted and assembled in Germany and cost the retailer about $13.50. (All prices were converted from euros.)
Mr. Pieters explained by email that his decision to present his products this way stemmed from his time at a major fashion house.
“I saw how the companies I worked for and others would move their production from Belgium or France to Vietnam or India, but would still be asking the same prices they asked before,” he said. Other ethical concerns, like fair wages, also informed his decision, Mr. Pieters said.
Scott Gabrielson, who got the idea for his accessories and leather goods company, Oliver Cabell, while working on his M.B.A. at Oxford, said the ability to sell directly to consumers online had a big influence on his decision to use transparency pricing. He wanted to show that, by eliminating brick-and-mortar and other built-in costs, clothing sellers could save shoppers money.
“By cutting out traditional wholesale, you can sell directly to consumers and have a much higher quality product for a much lower price point — the pure economics make that work,” Mr. Gabrielson said.
One of his biggest challenges, however, has been…