February 27, 2013

Time To Reform

With two stores in New York, one in LA and a growing online presence, the environmentally sustainable brand, The Reformation is taking "a new approach to fashion." Recently, we spoke with Creative Director Yael Aflalo about what this unique concept is really all about and what the future holds for the label.

photo via The Reformation

MBF: Please tell us a bit about your background. How did the store concept come about? What are the thoughts behind it?

Yael Aflalo: I’ve worked in the fashion industry for almost 15 years. I started my first clothing line, Ya-Ya when I was 19 and after ten years of running the company, I became disillusioned with the waste created by fashion brands, which included my own. This pushed me to launch a more environmentally responsible way of creating fashion, which began with a small Reformation store on 3rd Street in Los Angeles.

Reformation is a new approach to fashion. We believe that design, value and sustainability can coexist. We want to provide our customers with styles that generate a fraction of the environmental impact created by most fashion brands without sacrificing any element of design and providing these at accessible price points.

Our styles are limited-edition and we manufacture all of these at our downtown Los Angeles factory. This allows us to release designs that reflect the latest fashion trends. By cutting out the middleman and selling through our own boutiques and online store, we are able to control costs and pass these savings to our customers. We also source vintage garments and sustainable fabrics and incorporate green practices throughout our supply chain.

photo via The Reformation

MBF: Tell us more about your in-store products…how and where are they manufactured? What about the vintage pieces? Where do you source them?

YA: In our stores, we carry two lines of clothing. One is our Collection, which includes pieces that are all designed by me and our head designer. These are manufactured in our factory in Los Angeles. We collect design inspiration and use it as a basis to create the clothing that we all love to wear. We repurpose vintage garments, which we source from rag houses, to make a subset of our Collection. For the remainder, we use deadstock and surplus fabrics, which are sourced from fabric houses across the country. We are in the process of introducing sustainable fabrics to make our designs and we are excited about the first order we just placed!

Our second line, Vintage, includes vintage pieces that are sourced from various buyers across the country. They scour flea markets, vintage shows and secret places they won’t tell us about!

MBF: We hear you have a newly created wholesale division, who are some of your clients?

YA: We currently have a wholesale business with Urban Outfitters, and are working on a few collaborations that will be rolled out over the next few months. Stay tuned!

photo via The Reformation

MBF: Can you tell us about your customer? Do they come in specifically asking about the sustainable aspect of your store concept? Are people familiar with that particular concept?

YA: Our customer appreciates bold, provocative design, but also loves her basic closet pieces. She is looking for unique pieces that aren’t mass-produced. Our customers range in age from 18 to 45 – we have a lot of moms and their daughters shopping together! The Reformation consumer is not willing to compromise looking good for doing good, so our strong designs are a critical complement to our green process. In general, our customers aren’t necessarily buying our products because of the green aspect of our brand, however, more and more girls are reaching out and telling us how much our mission resonates with them! We believe as we continue to demonstrate that green fashion can be both beautifully designed and accessible, our consumer following will only increase.

MBF: What are the most important channels for marketing your shop concept?

YA: I think digital channels are the most important and where our message has been communicated best. Given the cult following of our brand, the frequent engagement through social media is important to our customers. We also launch new products constantly, and digital channels are a great way to share these releases.

photo via The Reformation

MBF: How do you keep up with design inspirations?

YA: I think the important thing is to always be open and aware of everything. Looking at people on the street, paying attention to the clothes in movies, going into stores and seeing what other people are doing. If you keep your eyes open to your surroundings there is always inspiration around.

MBF: You presently have three stores, what are your future expansion plans?

YA: We are focused on building our online business and I believe it’s such a powerful channel to communicate our brand message worldwide. We are open to expanding our physical store presence down the line, but right now we really want to make our website an amazing experience for our customers!

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