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In terms of fashion, Reformation is much more than just a brand: it is a commitment, a declaration of principles, a missive to the environment. Adding "sustainable" as an enterprise value should not be either an idiosyncrasy but a common practice, and that is why Reformation began to work five years ago. Yael Aflalo, the founder and creative director, understands that fashion and environment can easily coexist. The question is: why then do we continue polluting? We asked Aflalo and discovered that intelligent fashion is a reality. From its factory in "sunny L.A." –as they relate to the city of dreams– she reveals the many possibilities of an eco and stylish business.

What is Reformation? How was the idea “killer clothes that don't kill the environment” born?

Reformation is an LA-based, eco clothing brand that I created in 2009. I started seeing a lot of things I didn’t like in the fashion industry, such as overprinting lookbooks and wasting leftover fabric, when working on my first line, Ya-Ya. I began to feel a disconnection with my brand as I continued to see the excessive amount of waste, so I decided to end Ya-Ya and create Reformation. My goal for Reformation was to change the way people saw “green” fashion, and show them that being eco-friendly doesn’t have to mean sacrificing your style. These goals led me to create my own factory in downtown LA, where we could implement sustainable practices and create all clothing by using three sources of materials: repurposed vintage pieces, reused deadstock fabric and sustainable materials like Tencel.

The fashion industry is the third most polluting industry worldwide, after oil and agriculture. When do you think that consumers will be aware of this topic?

It wasn’t until I went on a trip to a factory in China that I really began to understand how big of an impact fashion has on the environment. I’d never seen anything like it –I couldn’t breathe because of all the pollution. Unfortunately, I think people will only start to become aware of this issue once it seriously starts to affect their daily lives. We do our best to spread the word at Reformation by educating our customers on the impact fashion can have on the environment and how to lead a sustainable lifestyle.

What are the characteristics of a typical consumer at Reformation?

The great thing about Reformation is that there really is no “typical” consumer that shops with us. Our customers are multifaceted, confident and cool, and we are happy to say that we can be the go-to source of fashion for a wide range of women.

How can you describe your creative process? Can you please share a typical day at Reformation’s factory?

Having our own factory in downtown Los Angeles gives us the freedom to design, manufacture, photograph and ship product under our own roof and by our own rules. We are always gathering ideas –from girls on the street to vintage editorials and women whose style inspire us. Because we have the complete control of our process, we only have to design a month or two before clothing hits the web and stores, which means we can make what we want to wear right away. It starts by gathering trends and ideas we know we want to explore, then we gather images and start sketching. Once all the items have been solidified, we pick names and fabrics and fit our first sample within a matter of days. If it’s something we all want to wear, it gets released, produced, and shot for web and editorial before arriving to the physical and online stores. We always make clothes we want to wear.

How would you define your target segment for the brand? What kind of characteristics do you look for when designing the clothes?

We don’t look at one girl when designing our clothes. A large part of our design process is fitting our clothes on different body types to make sure that women of all sizes will feel sexy and comfortable in our clothing. Typically, I'll ask different girls in the office "Are you buying this?" and the decision to move forward or change the item is dependent on that. Our office is filled with women who have different bodies and very different styles, so it's really the best way to have all my bases covered.

Does the availability of extra sizes add emphasis to the values of the brand?

We love that Reformation is appreciated among a diverse and wide-range of women, and if we can do more to attract a larger fan-base then we will do anything to account for that range. For example, we launched a collection for girls who have a C/D cup recently because our customers wanted items they could wear with a bra.

What are the challenges or ‘bad vibes’ that an eco-friendly brand faces in the fashion industry?

When I first started this company, we were told to play down the fact that we were an eco-focused clothing brand because people would automatically roll their eyes at us. Back then, most eco-fashion was boring and hemp. Instead of listening to them, we continued on with our goal of becoming one of the first clothing brands to master fast, sustainable fashion at a price that does not sacrifice style or the environment.

What are your long-term goals? Where do you see Reformation in ten years?

We are constantly inspired and releasing new collections, so stay tuned for many more surprises on our end. We hope that in ten years people will look back and say that Reformation jump-started the chic, eco-movement in fashion.

What three words describe your brand?

Sexy, chic, sustainable.

And what three words do not describe your brand at all?

Uptight, boring, wasteful.


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