Reformation founder responds to accusations of racism

Yael Aflalo, founder of popular sustainable womenswear label
Reformation, has apologized after comments accusing her of racism
appeared on social media.

“Part of sustainability is treating people equally. I realize that
I have failed you in that regard – especially the Black community,”
the brand founder wrote in a post shared to Reformation’s

Accusations against Aflalo began to come out after Reformation
shared a post supporting the Black Lives Matter movement on Instagram
last week. Former employees responded in comments on the post, sharing
their experiences dealing with racism during their time with the

“Working for Reformation deeply traumatized me,” wrote Leslieann
Elle Santiago on the platform. “Being overlooked and undervalued as a
woman of color who worked and managed their flagship store for three
years was the hardest. I cried many times knowing the color of my skin
would get me nowhere in this company.

“Yael never looked at me. She would walk past me and never spoke to
me. But would tell white associates that they were pretty. I once went
to visit the shop after a couple years gone and a new black associate
asked me if I honestly thought there was a chance for black people to
move up in the company. And I said if you’re asking this two years
after I left, then the answer was and will always be no. This story
goes deeper and I’ve always been afraid to tell it. But no more fear
from me.”

In her response, Aflalo accepted fault for her wrongdoings. She
wrote, “I was not a very good leader when it came to our team, which
is why I stepped back two years ago. When former team members make
accusations that I ignored them in the past, I know that this is
true… This is inexcusable in itself, but when I hear Black
colleagues who felt that I avoided them because of the color of their
skin, I burn inside thinking about the sadness I inflicted. Please
know that for me this was not about the color of your skin, it’s about
my shortcomings as a person.”

Aflalo also mentioned that Reformation will launch an independent
investigation into workplace concerns that have been raised in its
stores and that the brand will put more emphasis in working with Black
creators in future partnerships to increase diversity.

She also said that she has made a personal donation of 500 thousand
dollars to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Funch, the Thurgood
Marshall College Fund and the National Black Child Development


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