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BRAND OF THE MONTH: REFORMATION

If you're someone who strives to be sustainable and loves fashion, then you've probably already heard of our May Brand of the Month, Reformation.

Reformation burst into the eco-conscious millennial dreamworld in 2009. Founded by Yael Aflalo, Reformation was born in LA with a rebellious spirit and the ambition to make edgy, sexy, and feminine apparel using sustainable methods and materials, while saving retail from its doom. Entrepreneur Aflalo has managed to do just that by completely reinventing the definition of sustainable fashion and its look while modernising the way we shop in store and online. The effortlessly cool brand sells a vast selection of #insta worthy pieces like cute button downs, T-shirts with savvy slogans, modern cult jeans and silk maxi dresses with thigh high slits. A far cry from the typical fashion looks associated with eco-friendly labels, hemp, tie dye and harem pants. Aflalo’s “vintage-inspired” pieces don’t look like bad reinterpretations of something you would find in your grandma’s closet either, but modern versions of what’s trending.

Reformation’s design mission is not only to make on trend pieces but to also make effortless silhouettes that celebrate the feminine figure. They believe the perfect fit is the most important part of their clothes. Within their product range they have now launched a petites collection designed for ladies 5’2 and under, as well as a collection specially designed to fit women with a full C-DD cup. Plus, coinciding with the upcoming Mother’s Day they have just launched their Mama & Me collection of extremely cute children’s wear. These capsule collections based on body types are just the first steps in their quest to make sure women of many shapes and sizes can wear Reformation.

When dreaming up their products their process starts with the design team thinking about what people really want to wear right now. They source the most beautiful and sustainable fabrics possible to bring those designs to life quickly. Most fashion is designed 12–18 months before it’s released, but at Reformation a sketch can come to life in about a month. Because unlike other sustainable brands, Aflalo believes that the future of fashion is fast. Following Elon Musk’s First Principal Thinking, she tells Refinery 29, “Fast-fashion does not mean that it’s worse for the environment. The only examples that we have of fast-fashion are cheap companies that make clothing out of very bad materials, so we equate fast-fashion with bad for the environment or low quality, that people buy more of and throw away, creating this disposable culture.” For that reason, Reformation’s pieces are not throw-away clothes. They are made from super sustainable and strong lasting materials such as Tencel, viscose, modal, rescued deadstock fabrics, and repurposed vintage clothing. As they grow, their goal is to push harder to create more sustainable fabric options.

Since its first pop-up store where founder Aflalo first began selling upcycled vintage clothing, Reformation has gained a cult following and is worn by the likes of Sienna Miller and Emily Ratajkowski while growing into a global force. Revenue wise the start-up is crushing it. Reformation closed out 2017 with an estimated revenue just over $100 million. According to Aflalo, the company is only just getting started, "Our goal is to bring sustainable fashion to everyone, and every year we work toward that goal" (Refinery 29). Fashion is the third most polluting industry in the world, and one of the largest consumers of water. It’s a known fact that making fabric uses up lots of water, energy, chemicals, and other resources that a lot of people don’t really think about, or ever see. Unlike other fast fashion brands, Reformation informs their customers about its resource use, climate change, and other impacts of fashion and puts sustainability at the core of everything they do. Their factory uses the most efficient, eco-friendly and pro-social technologies and practices and they invest in green building infrastructure to minimise their waste, water, and energy footprints. By providing on-the-job training and opportunities for growth, they also invest in the people who make this revolution possible. Claiming to pay their workers the best wage in LA’s factories. “I think that climate change is the biggest issue facing the world, and I’m often surprised that more people don’t get into action about it, but that’s okay. I know how to make clothes and so I decided that I should start a sustainable fashion brand. That’s my part” (Refinery 29). With each Earth Day that has passed since the brand launched, the company has proposed a new green initiative to their customers. For this year’s Earth Day Reformation got serious about recycling. Seeing as the current fashion system operates on a take-make-dispose process – about 90% of clothing is thrown away long before the end of its useful life, circularity eliminates the concept of waste and reuses and recycles materials back into the fashion system. This year Reformation pledged to recycle 75,000 pieces of their clothing and also just opened a partnership with Depop where you can buy and sell gently loved Reformation products. What’s more, Reformation stores now have clothing recycling drop offs too. Although eighty percent of Reformation's sales still come from their website, there are more stores on the horizon. You won’t find Reformation at any department stores, outlets or pop-ups though: the brand has eliminated retail mark-ups by making their clothing available only online and in their own boutiques. Within their stores the start-up uses tech to make shopping in stores more like shopping online. Their greatest achievement within their stores are their fitting rooms. In stores there's only one of each item on display. Shoppers add an item to their fitting room by requesting it on a monitor or asking an employee to scan the barcode. The clothes await them in a "magic" wardrobe. The fitting rooms are outfitted with phone chargers, speakers, and buttons that let shoppers change the lighting to a more flattering colour and temperature. You can find out more about Reformation at their website and stalk their Instagram page now!

#brandofthemonth #Reformation #BrandoftheMonth2018