She runs America’s first sustainable fashion empire
Photograph by Emily Shur
Killer clothes made without killing the environment: That’s the mission of Reformation, the eco-conscious clothing company turned fashion phenomenon founded by Yael Aflalo in 2009. The 38-year-old Beverly Hills native was already a successful entrepreneur (she launched her first label, Ya-Ya, in 1999) when she decided to do her part in reducing apparel industry waste, from garment factory pollution and excessive water use to fabrics that end up in landfills. “I want to provide easy solutions to a more sustainable lifestyle,” she says. “The eureka moments happen when people say, ‘Reformation has taught me about fashion and the environment.’ ” With help from the mayor’s office, Aflalo turned a two-story, 35,000-square-foot space in Boyle Heights into the country’s first sustainable sewing factory, where Reformation’s operations are based (the brand made $25 million last year). “There’s this misconception that you can’t change the way people think,” says Aflalo. “But businesses have the power to change. That’s possible. That’s special to me.” –Nancy Miller
Here’s how one of Reformation’s garments, the “Antonia” dress Aflalo wears above, works:
It takes about four weeks for a Reformation garment to go from design concept to the company’s online store (there’s also a shop on Melrose Avenue). The industry standard is closer to four months.
To avoid overstock and emphasize exclusivity, clothing is created in limited quantities—only 300 “Antonia” dresses have been made thus far. Each garment comes with a tag that outlines its eco-conscious origin story.
Reformation’s “Antonia” dress is made of Lenzing Viscose, a trademarked material produced by a company that uses tree pulp fiber sourced from sustainably managed forests. The dye is free of potentially carcinogenic colorants, formaldehyde, and heavy metals.