San Francisco

Evicted Artists Say Apparel Firm 'Everlane' Is Taking Over Studio Spaces

In April, nearly two dozen artists received an email informing them that they were being evicted from studio spaces in Workspace Limited at 2150 Folsom St.

Building owner Chris Hickey reportedly told the artists that they were being displaced to repair a leaky roof and repair interior walls, but artist Flora Davis told Hoodline that “something fishy is going on.”

According to Davis, one of roughly 20 evicted artists, employees from clothing company Everlane have been “sneakily moving in” to vacant spots around the Workspace building. The property is zoned for Production, Design and Repair (PDR), which limits its use as office or retail space.

The Everlane Lab is located at 2170 Folsom, next door to Workspace. The company's motto: “Radical transparency. Know your factories. Know your costs. Always ask why."

Inside the Workspace Building. | PHOTO: FLORA DAVIS

Hickey hasn't responded to Hoodline's attempts to contact him. We've also reached out to Everlane for comment, but have not received a response.

When Davis first moved into the building about a year and a half ago, she said Everlane had already taken over half of the top floor. Since then, it has acquired more space, she said, including some studios.

“I first moved into an empty studio and then moved into another section after that," Davis said. "Within six months, that area was closed off for Everlane's computers and stuff, and it became part of their space.”

Everlane Lab building. | Photo: Flora Davis

Artist Sharon Steuer, who first informed us about the eviction in May, said that the “'radically transparent clothing company' are lying about what they are doing in their space." Steuer had been there for nine years before being asked to leave.

Davis, who moved into the space at Steuer's recommendation, said she and 43 other artists had just gone through another eviction from SoMa Artist Studios at 689 Bryant St. in October 2015. Davis had created art in that space for over a decade.

Both Davis and Steuer are members of the Cultural Action Network (CAN), a group that advocates on behalf of the displaced.

Flora Davis and Sharon Steuer at a 2015 event on artist displacement at SoMa Artist Studios. | Photo: Alisa Scerrato/Hoodline

Davis said she eventually brought in three more artists from SoMa Studios who were “floating around and needed a space.”

One of those artists was Suzanne Radcliffe, who moved into Workspace six months ago. Before she moved in, the owner gave no warning that she’d have to pick up and leave so suddenly, said Davis.

“We had hoped to at least be there for ArtSpan's Open Studios in the fall, but that wasn’t the case,” said Davis. "We were all very shocked when [the eviction] happened."

Hickey also owns City Picture Frame, located on the first floor of the building, below the area artists are being forced to vacate. Initially, they were given until August 15 to leave, but now, the deadline has been brought forward to August 1. 

Davis said it's obvious that Everlane is expanding its operation. "Although no one has outright said anything to us, we are assuming that this is what's happening," she said, pointing out that Everlane's website currently lists more than 30 open positions.

Photo: Flora Davis 

On June 9, Mission Local reported that Everlane might be moving into 461 Valencia St. Both Steuer and Davis said they believe the space on Valencia may be for retail purposes, but that the company is expanding its headquarters into 2150 Folsom.

“It’s odd,” said Davis. “The owner works with artists. He has a framing business, yet he is kicking these artists out. He’s not a bad person per se, he’s a business man. He actually offered to help the group out by offering a place for us to move to."

However, Davis said the alternative space is "substandard." The new space would be at the Redlick Building on Mission St. and 17th, a building where 70 artists faced eviction in 2015.

Davis said she just couldn’t move in there. “The space he wants to put us in is on the second floor," she told us. "The ceilings are about seven and a half feet high, and no windows or light. It’s not really a place the artist wants to go.”


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