Its Instagram boldly tells you upon first glance that: “Being naked is the #1 most sustainable option. We’re #2.”
And it would certainly appear to be true for Reformation, the Los Angeles clothing label launched ten years ago by Yael Aflalo.
A quick search of the brand’s tag #RefBabe on Instagram will bring up over 13, 000 posts showcasing the floaty dresses and ‘milkmaid’ necklines that Reformation has become a go-to for. The pieces are worn by the likes of Taylor Swift, Rihanna, Emily Ratajowski and Karlie Kloss, who was an early investor in the company, but its appeal goes way past its celebrity fan club.
The label is not only revered for its highly-desirable items of clothing (which sell out, on average, within 38 days) but also for its eco-credentials.
The brand is 100 per cent carbon, water and waste neutral, and only uses deadstock and eco-friendly fabrics, while recycling or donating textile scraps, with a view to eventually becoming zero-waste.
Following successful pop-ups at Selfridges and Browns East, Reformation has landed on Westbourne Grove with its first stand-alone store in the UK.
We caught up with founder Aflalo to talk all things fashion, sustainable and, of course, Reformation.
Were you always interested in fashion growing up?
As a child, I used to dress up my little sister for school and have fashion shows with all my younger siblings as models. I guess it’s always been in my blood. I love that fashion has the power to change a person’s mood and persona. I love that I can put on a suit and feel powerful and serious, but the next day wear a floral dress and feel soft and ethereal. The clothes can sink in and change the way I meet the world and the way the world meets me. Fashion was always something that came naturally and effortlessly to me, so it became my vehicle to do something meaningful.
How did Reformation come about?
Throughout my years in fashion, I really started to dislike a lot of the harmful industry practices that I had become a part of – overprinting look books and tossing 80% of them, yards of leftover fabric getting thrown out, etc. On a trip to China, I saw first-hand the devastating amount of pollution there from manufacturing and I knew that I had to make a change and stop contributing to the fashion industry’s waste. So, Reformation started as my attempt to break this cycle. I wanted to create a brand where fashion and sustainability coexist and where “green” fashion didn’t mean sacrificing your style.
What challenges have you faced?
When the company first started, we were told by a lot of people to play down the fact that we were an “eco-friendly” clothing brand because people would automatically roll their eyes. We continued on with our mission of leading a sustainable way to be fashionable, proving that style and sustainability can co-exist.
Who is a Reformation girl?
There’s never been just one girl – our customers are multifaceted, confident and cool. We love seeing women with different styles in our clothes, and that diversity continues to grow with the brand.
Talk us through some of the sustainable practices you’ve put in place…
In 2015 we introduced the RefScale, a tool that tracks each product’s environmental footprint by adding up the pounds of carbon dioxide emitted, gallons of water used, and pounds of waste generated. With this tracking process, our customers can make better and more empowered choices. And similar to how big companies report their profits through quarterly earnings reports, we also release a quarterly sustainability report so we and our customers can track our progress throughout the year
We opened the first sustainable sewing factory in the U.S. where we design and manufacture the majority of our collections, allowing us to incorporate green practices throughout the supply chain. To keep up with demand, we’ve expanded to other manufacturing partners in the U.S. and abroad using our same sustainable standards and materials.
We want to focus on efforts that have the biggest impact. So we created our first Sustainability at Reformation framework we will use to set our goals and priorities for the next five years.
What’s your favourite thing about style in London?
London is such a vibrant and diverse city and has always been a source of inspiration for me. It’s a place where individual style is encouraged and celebrated, and I am excited for Reformation to be a part of that.
Reformation is now open at 186 Westbourne Grove, W11 2RH.