Q3 Sustainability Report

The Sustainability Report
Sexy math
At Reformation, we believe in sharing the true cost of fashion—not just the price tag. RefScale tracks our exact environmental footprint in terms of water, carbon dioxide, and waste using these sexy calculations. It covers everything from growing the raw materials, dyeing, manufacturing, packaging, shipping, and even garment care.
Fabric manufacturing

Fabric dyeing

Raw material transit

Product manufacturing

Commercial garment wash



Customer garment care

Garment end-of-life
It helps us keep our true costs in mind when we make design and business decisions and motivates us to create better solutions. We also know it is not the whole picture, so we address important impacts like toxicity and fair labor in other programs.
Here’s our impact from last quarter:
Here is what percentage we saved this quarter compared to most clothes bought in the U.S.:
Carbon dioxide eq. (pounds) 61%
Water (gallons) 84%
Waste (metric tons) 52%
We keep it neutral
It’s not enough to just manufacture more sustainably, that’s why we invest in programs that actually replace the resources we have spent. We count the resources used for every Reformation product and invest in the environment in the form of offsets. Basically, in exchange for the emissions, water and waste our clothes used last quarter we planted trees, purchased landfill gas offsets and restored freshwater to critically dewatered rivers and wetlands in California. Kinda like Venmo, but for the Earth.
Sustainable supply chain
We’re committed to making beautiful clothes with a reduced environmental impact in places that treat workers well. So, when it comes to choosing where we make our clothes, we look at a number of different factors - quality, price, speed, reduced environmental impact, and working conditions for the people in the facility. Our partners share a common vision of sustainability, accountability, and transparency. Currently, we require all our direct cut, sew & finish manufacturing partners to adhere to our Code of Conduct (basically our requirements for ethical operations) and be monitored for compliance and continuous improvement.
Here’s where our stuff is made so far in 2018:
We host tours of our factory in Los Angeles (we’ve hosted over 450 guests so far in 2018!) so you can see it IRL and meet the people who make your clothes. To save your spot, email us at love@thereformation.com.
Fiber standards
Up to two-thirds of the sustainability impact of fashion happens at the raw materials stage - before the clothes have actually been made. Fiber selection also affects how you’re gonna wash the garment, and potentially recycle it one day - both important factors to consider when it comes to the environmental impact. That’s why we just updated our Ref standards - grouping fibers into different classifications based on their combined social and environmental impact.

We tried to make these standards as holistic as possible, taking into consideration water input, energy input, land use, eco-toxicity, greenhouse gas emissions, human toxicity, availability and price. We also looked at garment care implications, like microfiber shedding. Basically, every time you wash synthetic clothes they shed small plastic pieces called microfibers, which is leading to plastic pollution of our waterways. As a precaution, we grouped recycled synthetics by their application and machine wash frequency.

We have five categories:

Natural fibers that are rapidly renewable, plant-based and have a potential for circularity.

B–Better than most
B fibers are almost all natural or recycled fibers.

C–Could be better
Fibers in the C category are better alternatives than more commonly used fibers, but not as innovative.

D–Don’t use unless certified
D’s require certifications for raw material cultivation (i.e. organic), animal welfare, traceability or wet processing (i.e. Bluesign)

E–Eww, never
E fibers are too environmentally or socially intensive, and don’t meet our sustainability criteria. We’ll only source these fibers if they are <10% for specific fabric construction and performance.

We aim to make 75% of our products with A & B fibers by the end of 2018!

Check out our full fiber standards here.
We published our methodology and sources so you can really dig in and understand what we include in our standards.
Product wins
We’ve launched some new product categories with some serious sustainability wins.

Our first shoe collection featured espadrilles made with jute, a renewable natural fiber. Jute actually has a positive carbon footprint because it takes up more carbon from the atmosphere than it releases. A jute plant sinks about 5.8 tons of CO2 from the atmosphere in its lifetime—that’s the same CO2 emissions as driving 14,000 miles in your car!
ShoesOur first shoe collection featured espadrilles made with jute, a renewable natural fiber. Jute actually has a positive carbon footprint because it takes up more carbon from the atmosphere than it releases. A jute plant sinks about 5.8 tons of CO2 from the atmosphere in its lifetime—that’s the same CO2 emissions as driving 14,000 miles in your car!
We’re always pushing for better
We’re committed to achieving fair, safe and healthy working conditions throughout our supply chain, and minimizing our environmental impact. We recognize that social and environmental responsibility is a process and requires collaboration with our suppliers and other stakeholders. These are our high level 2018 goals & how we are tracking so far:

2018 goal: 75% of all fabric spend are ref's most sustainable fibers
Status: 69%
We are currently in the process of switching to our updated fiber standards (mentioned above) so this number is based on our previous standards.

2018 goal: 75% of all fabric spend have clean chemical certifications
We have work to do on this one! We are meeting with our fabric mills, dyehouse and printers to pursue Bluesign, Oeko-tex, and similar certifications to ensure responsible use of chemicals, and that products are safe for you and the environment. Two of our main partners are likely using compliant dyestuffs, but don’t have the certifications and documentation all sorted yet. We also test all of our stuff against our Restricted Substance List to confirm there are no hazardous substances in our products. Additionally, we are exploring cost sharing with facilities to provide them with the support needed to obtain these certifications. Our biggest wins right now, continue to be silk, linen and our swim fabrics.

2018 goal: 75% of units are machine or hand washable
Status: 60%
Up to two-thirds of clothes’ environmental impact happens once you take it home—which means you play an important role in the life cycle of our products. By hand washing or machine-washing your stuff in cold water, you can help prevent 500 lbs of CO2 from entering the atmosphere every year. Our goal is to make 75% of our products low impact garment care to make it easier for you to give back to the Earth.

2018 goal: 75,000 garments reused or recycled
Status: 26,558 garments
There are actually enough clothing and textiles in existence today to meet our global annual demand. Circularity eliminates the concept of waste and reuses + recycles materials back into the fashion system. We have been working on a handful of projects to incorporate circularity in all steps of the value chain. To help us reach our goal we’ve teamed up with thredUP to clean out your closet and earn Ref Credit! We think that this will push us closer to goal by inspiring and making it easy to recirculate your old clothes.

2018 goal: 75% of factory team earn LA’s living wage
Status: 36%
We’re working to meet our goal of 75%+ of our team members at or above Los Angeles’ living wage threshold in 2018 (as defined by MIT), and push for 100% in 2019.¹ Right now 100% of all of our teams make more than CA State Minimum Wage. We increased the minimum wage for all Ref factory employees in July to help us drive closer to our goal. We also offer an incentive structure for our sewing teams. We provide health benefits to all full-time employees, and extra perks like massages and ESL classes.

2018 goal: 100% traceability of tier 1 and tier 2 suppliers
Status: 79%
Tier 1 means our cut and sew vendors and any subcontractors. We have mapped out and are currently monitoring 100% of our Tier 1 suppliers for ethical working conditions. Our next step will be mapping our Tier 2 vendors, so our fabric mills, dye houses and printers.
Something to look forward to
Bio-based packaging
Keep a look out for some updated packaging coming your way soon! This year we expanded our manufacturing to include overseas factory partners so we need to make sure our garments are protected in transit. In order to limit our waste and use of plastic, we sourced a bio-based bag from TIPA that is 100% compostable. So, our products will still be packaged in the same recycled paper kraft mailers but with an added layer of compostable coverage.

Super transparent
We’re working on some exciting traceability stakeholder engagement initiatives like vendor highlights, and a deep dive into our social compliance monitoring program.
¹ *Living Wage is calculated as total compensation (regular + overtime + bonus) / total hours worked

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