Reformation spots trends and gets them onto store floors in a matter of weeks. Just like Zara or H&M – only entirely eco-friendly. Make it last meets founder Yael Aflalo.
Reformation is the eco-friendly, sustainable brand that is putting a rock’n’roll stamp on green values. Founder Yael Aflalo set out to create a label that was desirable and real, putting in place a clear mission statement right from the start: “Reformation makes killer clothes that don’t kill the environment.” Alfalo expands on this by adding: “We create limited-edition collections made from eco-friendly materials and with sustainable practices to prove that you can change the world without changing your style”.
Founder of Reformation Yael Aflalo
You don’t have to be Jane Birkin, Bianca Jagger or any of Aflalo muses to wear Reformation, but even those who don’t fall in the rock heritage camp can find something to love in the shape of fluid, carefree dresses, decadent jumpsuits, abbreviated knits and cute shirts with not-so-cute messages like ‘fuck off’. An instinct for what women want has seen Reformation gain a fan-base of gorgeous women like Erin Featherston, Rihanna and Alexa Chung, not to mention the bi-coastal cool girls who flock to their LA and New York boutiques. Alfalo explains the magnetism: “Our top priority is making really awesome and beautiful clothing. That’s ultimately what draws people to the brand.”
The appeal of their designs – which are decidedly not trend-led – is an innate sexiness, mixed with an air of casual nonchalance. It’s the opposite of try-hard, fast fashion, trend-chasing style. The company operates out of LA, with a new factory that also houses their offices and studio. It’s this hands-on setup that is the key to their success: “Speed to market has helped us – we are able to see new trends emerging or styles that are selling well and quickly turn them around and onto store floors in a matter of weeks.” Having their all-in-one factory/office helps them create the perfect cuts: “We focus a lot on the fit and feel of our product, testing not only on our models but girls in the office as well.” Aflalo is obviously as proud of the eco-credentials of her new factory as she is with her collections when she runs through the features: “It’s the first ever sustainable sewing factory in the US! It is constantly being updated with eco-friendly appliances and functions, like our cool-roof and grey water garden. The 33,500 square foot space keeps every step of our Reformation process within our reach under one roof, from design and manufacturing, to creative and fulfillment.”
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Running her first label Ya-Ya, set up when she was just 21, Aflalo saw first-hand the impact of the fashion industry on the environment. Reformation’s commitment to ethical and ecological values is something that is close to her heart: “I think seeing the amount of pollution in the world has really impacted my ethical direction. I couldn’t stomach being a part of the harmful cycle any longer and wanted to create easy solutions for our customers, while educating them on how to be green without sacrificing style.” She’s more than happy to be the flag-bearer for this: “At Reformation, we want to lead a movement towards a world where sustainable manufacturing is the status quo.”
Winter has been “all about floor-length trench coats on top of one our velvet minis” but this season has seen the launch of Obvious, a new collection of more affordable items, including tops, skirts and their trademark high-drama dresses. Aflalo says her mission was always “to make clothes for the chicest people, not make clothes for the wealthy people”. With dresses under $100 and T-shirts under $30 it’s an easy entry point for budding Reformation fangirls and sits comfortably alongside their main collection. This is a democratic stance which Aflalo seems proud to champion: “We’re trying to have a broader assortment of clothing so that different types of people – that can afford different things or want different things from their clothes – have a place to come.” A fashion line that mixes a democratic sensibility with eco-values and lustworthiness – seems like Reformation have hit on a formula for sustainable success.
Words by Isabelle O’Carroll
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