Created in 2009 by Yael Aflalo, we design and manufacture the majority of our limited-edition collections in our factory headquarters in downtown Los Angeles. All other garments are produced by responsible manufacturing partners here in the U.S. or abroad using sustainable methods and materials. We source sustainable fabrics and vintage garments while incorporating better practices throughout our supply chain to make beautiful styles at a fraction of the environmental impact of conventional fashion. It is our mission to lead and inspire a sustainable way to be fashionable.
- Fabric is the magic
- Factory life
- Sustainable purchasing
- Service & community
Reformation’s design mission is to make effortless silhouettes that celebrate the feminine figure. The design process starts with us thinking about what we really want to wear right now. We source the most beautiful and sustainable fabrics possible to bring those designs to life quickly.
Reformation’s design mission is to make effortless silhouettes that celebrate the feminine figure. The design process starts with us thinking about what we really want to wear. Most fashion is designed 12-18 months before it’s released, but at Ref a sketch becomes a dress in about a month. We’re designing and making what you want to wear right now.
We believe the perfect fit is the most important part of our clothes. We spend hours fitting on different bodies and have a meticulous approach to our fits. Our main range is fit on multiple women that are between 5′6 and 5′10. We also have a petite collection which is designed for ladies 5′4 and under. These capsules based on body types are just the first steps in our quest to make sure women of many shapes and sizes can wear Ref (and look damn good doing it).
Fabric is the magic
We make our pieces from super sustainable materials, rescued deadstock fabrics, and repurposed vintage clothing. As we grow, our goal is to push harder to create more sustainable fabric options.
Over half of our garments are made with stuff like Tencel, Viscose and recycled materials, which use way less resources than conventional cotton, and are less-polluting than oil-based fabrics to produce.
Vintage & Deadstock
About 40% of our fabrics are vintage or deadstock, which means we give a second life to fabric that may be destined for the landfill.
We think Tencel is the holy grail of fabrics. Made by Austrian company Lenzing, Tencel is a semi-synthetic fiber with properties almost identical to cotton. It’s part of the Rayon family, made from renewable plant materials.
Tencel is manufactured from Eucalyptus trees, which grow fast and thick on low-grade land. It takes just half an acre to grow enough trees for one ton of Tencel fiber. Cotton needs at least five times as much land—plus, it must be good quality farmland. Tencel production is done without the use of pesticides or insecticides (unlike its dirty cousin, cotton).
Water & Pollution
While Eucalyptus trees don’t need irrigation, water is still used to process the pulp and turn it into Tencel fiber. Lenzing estimates its water use at 155 gallons per pound of fiber, which is 80% less than cotton. It has a closed loop manufacturing process, meaning over 99% of the non-toxic solvent is recycled and pushed back into the system instead of being flushed out as wastewater. Over 99% of the solvent is recycled and pushed back into the system instead of being flushed out as wastewater. And don’t just take our word for it: Tencel has been certified by the European eco-label Oeko Tex 100 as containing low levels of manufacturing chemicals and byproducts.
Like most man-made fibers, Tencel takes more energy to produce than a natural fiber. However, Lenzing uses 100% renewable energy to minimize GHG emissions.
To get deep into it, check out more info from Lenzing
The majority of our woven fabric is made of viscose, another man-made fiber made from renewable plant material.
A viscose blouse requires approximately half of the energy than a cotton top to produce.
While extracting plant fibers is both energy and chemical-intensive, we ensure the production and weaving processes meet our social and environmental standards. About half of our viscose is manufactured by the Austrian company Lenzing that sources trees from certified sustainably managed forests and recycles the chemical and waste products that result from the production process.
Room for improvement
Even though viscose is made from natural fibers, it still has a lot of the same issues as synthetic fabrics. In other words, it’s not our forever fabric. We are looking for a partner who will work with us to develop a woven fiber like viscose with an improved environmental impact. Contact us if you can help.
Deadstock & Vintage
About 35% of our products are made out of “deadstock” fabrics. Textiles make up almost 6% of the trash entering U.S. landfills every year. We buy old, leftover, and over-ordered fabric from other designers and fabric warehouses. This allows us to reuse and divert these materials from the landfill and into your closet. It looks better than it sounds.
About 5% of our stuff is made out of vintage clothing. We buy vintage pieces from wholesalers across the US to repurpose into new pieces. This includes bulk vintage denim, cashmere and other materials that we refashion and include in our collections. We also source lots of one-of-a-kind stuff for our stores. Remanufactured clothing can save more than 13,000 pounds of CO2 emissions a year. Also, it’s super cute.
We put sustainability at the core of everything we do. Our factory uses the most efficient, eco-friendly and pro-social technologies and practices we can get. We invest in green building infrastructure to minimize our waste, water, and energy footprints. By providing on-the-job training and opportunities for growth, we also invest in the people who make this revolution possible.
At Reformation we think about all the costs in creating fashion—not just the price tag. RefScale tracks our environmental footprint by adding up the pounds of carbon dioxide emitted and gallons of water we use, and pounds of waste we generate. Then we calculate how Reformation’s products help reduce these impacts compared with most clothes bought in the US. We share this information on every product page of our website and tell you exactly what impact each garment has on the environment. This way we all get to see the total cost of fashion so you can make empowered choices, and we can keep creating better solutions when it comes to making clothes.
|RefScale||Sterling Dress||Industry standard||Savings|
|Carbon dioxide||10 lbs||30 lbs||20 lbs|
|Water||379 gal||4557 gal||4178 gal|
|Waste||2 lbs||3 lbs||1 lb|
How it works
It’s all about math, and we’re super into it. The whole equation follows the lifecycle of clothes—everything from growing textile fibers and making fabric, dyeing, moving materials, manufacturing, packaging, shipping, garment care, and even recycling clothes when you’re done with them.
We’re not totally sustainable just yet - we need to invest in programs that actually replace what we’ve used and spent. So we give back to the environment in the form of offsets. Basically, in exchange for the emissions and water used by our clothes, we help plant forests to naturally capture CO2 from the air, invest in clean water solutions, and purchase landfill gas offsets. (The Earth be like, thank you.)
We also publish the totals for all the resources we used, saved, and offset. We can’t wait to see how all those little costs add up and actually make a big difference in the RefScale.
Read about all the details and methodology here.
Our factory uses the most efficient, eco-friendly and pro-social technologies and practices available. We invest in green building infrastructure to minimize our waste, water, and energy footprints. By providing on-the-job training and opportunities for growth we want to invest in the people who make this crazy revolution possible.
We source electricity offsets from 100% wind power suppliers and use LED lighting and Energy Star-rated appliances in our offices. We’ve installed a cool roof that reflects heat and light away, offsetting about 200 tons of CO2 equivalent emissions a year.
We revitalized the alley behind our headquarters to create a beautiful, relaxing garden for our team to enjoy the outdoors, plant some veggies, and gather for meetings and parties. With a laundry-to-irrigation system where the used water from the washer (grey water) irrigates the garden, we help recycle over 80,000 gallons of water per year back into the hydrology of the soil.
We recycle, compost organic wastes, and recycle or donate our textile scraps whenever possible. Zero waste is our goal. Right now, we recycle about 75% of all our garbage. Our goal is to reach over 85% in 2016. Every little thing adds up.
Over three-quarters of Reformation’s management team are women (roar!) or people from underrepresented populations.
Most of our hourly workers are paid more than minimum wage, and over half are paid above the LA living wage threshold. We are working towards 100% living wages across the board.
We provide health benefits to all full-time employees including our manufacturing team. We’ve even made getting to work part of our mission by offering Metro passes to our entire team to encourage more use of public transportation.
By only selling clothes online and in our own boutiques, we avoid traditional retail markups. Also, we outfit our stores with the most sustainable stuff we can find so we make the least impact possible. We’re planning to expand our retail stores and do some really cool sustainable innovations while we are at it. Stay tuned.
On average, e-commerce uses about 30% less energy than traditional retail. Good news because the majority of our customers use our online site to make purchases (we’re all for never getting out of bed either)
We aim for the most efficient, lowest impact solution available—then we purchase carbon offsets to cover every single domestic shipment we make. We are currently working to set up a carbon neutral shipping program with our international shipper.
Typical hangers are made of plastic or metal and have the lifespan of only 3 months. We use recycled paper hangers to lessen the demand for new materials and to keep junk from landfills.
Reusable tote bags
Americans toss 102 billion plastic bags a year. We opt for reusable totes because they lighten the load. Plus they’re way cuter.
Americans throw away 68 pounds of clothing per person, per year. You can get pre-paid shipping labels in our stores and on our website so you can recycle your clothes when you’re over them.
Certified Benefit Corporations (B Corps) are a new type of company that uses the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. B Corp companies have some pretty rigorous standards to live up to in terms of environmental performance, accountability and transparency. Reformation was certified to meet these requirements and we’re proud to say, for once it felt really good to be judged.
Applying to be a B Corp was a natural fit. We didn’t have to change business practices to be eligible for certification because sustainability has been at the core of who we are and what we do from the beginning. The B Corp assessment is a helpful way to report what we do to make a difference in the world, and will also help us identify best practices and areas to improve as we grow. Also it’s a cool group of companies we get to hang with (and we get a discount on Ben & Jerry’s ). Learn more.
To keep our supply chain as sustainable as possible, we make sure our suppliers take social and environmental standards seriously. By sourcing locally when possible, and screening all of our suppliers, we minimize environmental impacts and ensure there’s no unfair or unsafe labor that goes into making our clothes.
We always try to source our materials locally and domestically first, regardless of cost. All of our cutting and sewing is done in Los Angeles and we manufacture the majority of our products in our own factory (depending on the season and the styles we’re making that week). All other garments are produced by responsible manufacturing partners here in the U.S. or abroad using sustainable methods and materials.
Right now, about half of our raw goods come from the US. The other half is purchased from overseas suppliers. This happens when we’re unable to find anybody to make these fabrics domestically because fabric-weaving equipment for delicate wovens left the U.S. a few decades ago. Our goal is to one day bring this know-how back—both internally and domestically.
We always screen suppliers for negative social and environmental practices. We seek to work with those using eco-friendly manufacturing processes and practice fair and safe labor. It’s totally like dating—our standards are just extra high.
We created a sustainable partners program to work with our suppliers to move them past compliance and into awesomeness by investing in their sustainability programs, whether here or abroad. We’re kind of sustainability-pushers like that.
A business uses a ton of stuff. To manage our impact, we adopted Environmentally Preferred Purchasing policies across all our operations for things like office and cleaning supplies, shipping materials, and manufacturing equipment. We prioritize products with recycled-content, and opt for solutions that are recyclable or biodegradable.
Paper and pens
Americans trash 105 billion pens per year, most of them made of plastic. We purchase 100% recycled-content paper and pens made from recycled tires.
Non-toxic, biodegradable cleaning products
We source reclaimed or reused furniture and dishware.
We offer organic snacks in the kitchen.
Our packaging is plastic-free and made from 100% recycled paper products. Plus our tape and hangers use bio-based, non-toxic adhesives. Our garment bags are made from 30% recycled plastic and always get reused. It’s the best we could find, but we want it to be better. If anybody wants to work with us to develop even more magical packaging solutions, let’s chat.
We always source locally first. In total, local and domestic suppliers represent about 80% of our supplies.
Service and community
We think it’s pretty cool when you have a positive impact on your community so we offer incentives for our employees to lend a hand to their community. Some causes are best served simply by donating some cash money, so we do that too when it makes sense.
We provide our staff with one paid day off per month to volunteer. We offer company-wide service days several times a year, and regularly highlight volunteer opportunities to make giving back a little more doable.
We celebrate staff birthdays by donating to TreePeople, an organization that supports urban forests in LA by planting a tree in their name.
We also give back through sustainability-focused collaborations like our Earth Day sweatshirts whose sales went to support TreePeople, and our No Red Carpet Needed Collection of which 25% of the revenue went to support sustainable education at the MUSE School, CA.
Impact of fashion
Fashion is the third most polluting industry in the world, and the second largest consumer of water. Making fabric uses water, energy, chemicals, and other resources that most people don’t think about, or ever see. We think knowledge is power, so we talk about resource use, climate change, and other impacts of fashion.
We all know that the world is facing extreme freshwater scarcity - in fact over a billion people don’t have access to safe water. Fashion is the second largest consumer and polluter of water because processing raw materials and manufacturing clothing consume extreme amounts of precious H2O.
Manufacturing textiles is extremely water intensive. For example, producing one pair of denim jeans uses over 900 gallons of water. This amounts to over 400 billion gallons of water every year just to make the jeans sold in the US.
After the water is used in the manufacturing process, this often-polluted water is then sent back to our rivers, lakes and oceans. The World Bank estimates almost 20% of global industrial water pollution comes from the treatment and dyeing of textiles. In China alone, the textile industry pumps out 2.5 billion tons of wastewater every year.
Contrary to what some of those crazies say, we think climate change is real and fashion is not making it better. From growing textile fibers to moving fabrics around the world, making clothes sadly fuels this global climate crisis.
Production processes emit CO2 and other greenhouse gases which pollute our atmosphere and contribute to climate change. For example, cotton, leather and other raw materials grown in industrial farming operations create huge energy footprints. Also, polyester, nylon, and other petroleum-based materials emit harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas almost 300 times more potent than CO2. Nearly half of the ready-to-wear products Americans buy are manufactured in China, where the textile industry emits 3 billion tons of soot each year, greatly impacting both human and environmental health.
98% of clothing bought in the US was imported from abroad. A single cotton T-shirt transported from Xinjiang, China to Los Angeles results in over 9,000 “clothing miles” and over 2 pounds of CO2 equivalent emissions.
Pollution & trash
The production of textile fibers uses 20 billion pounds of chemicals a year and some of them are just plain toxic.
2,000 different chemicals, including formaldehyde, chlorine, lead, and mercury are used in textile processing. Of these, over 1,600 are used in dyeing processes, but only 16 are actually EPA-approved. Um...
Runoff from these dye houses can contain heavy metals, alkali salts, toxic solids, and harmful pigments. About 40% of colorants used around the world contain organically bound chlorine, a known carcinogen. It can cause cancer like tobacco, asbestos and DDT. What a nightmare-factory.
Americans throw away over 14 million tons of textiles a year. Over 99% of the clothing thrown away in the US can be recycled or reused, but sadly more than 85% ends up in landfills. Even in a landfill, these materials don’t just go away—nylon takes 30 to 40 years to biodegrade, while polyester requires more than 200 years. Talk about a hand me down.
We do not think cotton is awesome. About ⅔ of all apparel is made from cotton, and we believe it has some of the most harmful environmental impacts of all fabric.
Conventional cotton consumes 11% of the world’s pesticides and 24% of the world’s insecticides, despite the fact that cotton only uses 2.4% of total arable land. Terrible ratio if you ask us.
Most cotton requires high levels of irrigation and water-intensive processing. A cotton t-shirt can use up to 700 gallons of water to make (that’s close to 18 full bathtubs’ worth). Irrigation systems input and circulate chemicals into the groundwater, making cotton production the largest textile contributor to freshwater and soil toxicity in the world.
Organic cotton is a step in the right direction but it’s still land and water-use intensive. It needs anywhere from 20% to 50% more land to produce the same amount when it’s conventionally grown. Organic cotton is basically like that jerk you dated in college—even with a new job and a car, he’s still just bad news.
Fossil fuel fabrics
Did you know most fast fashion is actually made out of oil? We were shocked when we found out, too. Polyester, acrylic, nylon, spandex, and acetate are all made from nonrenewable fossil fuels , which require a bunch of energy to produce and emit gross stuff from the landfill.
The manufacturing process emits pollution into the air and waterways harming environmental and human health. For every ton of polyester, manufacturers emit over five tons of carbon dioxide.
These textiles take anywhere from 30 to 200 years to biodegrade. When they do, they release chemicals like formaldehyde, heavy metals, BPA, and PFCs into the environment. So basically you wear it twice and it lives in a landfill with its formaldehyde and BPA buddies for 200 years.
Good news: up to two-thirds of clothes’ carbon footprint occurs after you take it home. That’s incredible because a lot of all the nasty stuff in the fashion industry is in your hands to fix. The extra good news is that it’s not even hard stuff to do. Here are some easy ways to make a difference.
We’re here to give you some really good news: up to two-thirds of clothes’ carbon footprint occurs after you take it home. That’s incredible because most of all that nasty stuff is in your hands to fix. The extra good news is that it’s not even hard stuff to do. Here are some easy ways to make a difference.
Only wash as needed
Not only will you save water and detergent, your clothes will last way longer. Next time you don’t do laundry in a while, you’re not being lazy you’re just being a super good person.
When you can, skip the dryer
Line drying your clothes for just six months out of the year can eliminate up to 700 pounds of greenhouse gases annually. That’s the same energy as driving a Prius 1,800 miles, which is a super long road trip. Also hanging your clothes to dry looks super chic and Italian.
When you do the wash, set your washer to “cold” to save energy and help your clothes live a little longer (heat can break fibers down). Also, switching from hot water to cold or warm can help prevent 500 lbs of CO2 from entering the atmosphere every year. That’s the same energy as a 30-minute blow dry twice a week for a year. Pass the round brush.
If it’s only dirty in one teeny place, exercise that spot cleaner.
Consider bagging and putting it in the freezer for a day or two - this will kill bacteria and odors, keep your jeans in better shape and is just a chill way to do laundry that your science teacher would have loved.
Green dry cleaning
Some professional cleaners now offer green dry cleaning that use water as the primary solvent. This type of cleaning can substantially reduce toxicity and CO2 emissions associated with garment care.
The primary chemical solvent used in dry-cleaning, perchloroethylene (or perc), is a toxic chemical capable of causing liver damage and respiratory failure. Yikes. It can also lead to groundwater contamination and air pollution. So even if your cleaners advertises as “green” or “organic,” be sure to ask if they use perc, hydrocarbons, or D-5 cleaners, and be sure to avoid the toxic stuff. Just say no to perc.
Switching from hot water to cold or warm can help prevent 500 lbs of CO2 from entering the atmosphere every year.
Donate & Recycle
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Americans throw away 68 pounds of clothing and textiles per person, per year. That’s almost enough to meet most airlines’ overweight luggage fee. Americans also donate or recycle less than 15% of clothing and shoes, though nearly all of it could be recycled or reused. Let’s get on this.
There are donation centers pretty much everywhere. Try your local Goodwill, Salvation Army, American Red Cross or Dress For Success (a non-profit organization that provides interview suits and career development for low-income women).
We throw away so much mostly because our garbage cans are way closer than the nearest recycling center. That's why we’ve launched RefRecycling. It's the easiest way for you to recycle all those clothes you probably shouldn't wear again. You can print a RefRecycling shipping label from your account online or pick one up in stores. Then, simply slap that on the box your stuff came in (or any other box), fill it up with whatever you want to recycle, have it picked up at your door, and we'll do the rest. You can login to your Reformation profile and log the label number to track your shipments and see where your old stuff is going, and the positive environmental impact you made. So that you know your old clothes are in good hands, we've teamed up with CR. They'll sort your clothes to either be responsibly reused or recycled. Check out the RefRecycling dashboard to get started.