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Sustainability pioneer Yael Aflalo is transforming millennial wardrobes with her fashion brand Reformation. She talks to SUITCASE about the store’s London outpost, eco-conscious practices and the LA hangouts loved by locals.
LA-based Yael Aflalo, founder and CEO of sustainable fashion brand Reformation, is reforming the way people think (and dress). Carbon neutral since 2015, her label is known for its use of eco fabrics and repurposed vintage pieces – the go-to fashion choice of any mindful millennial – as much as it is for its cult celeb following (Rhianna and Kendal Jenner are big fans).
A product of its environment, Reformation’s California-inspired dresses and “effortless” feel is oh so LA. Here, Yael reveals her insider guide to the city, flagging the best acupuncturist in town, late-night dinner table to book and the buzzy health spot only locals know about…
You’ve brought a little slice of LA to London with the launch of your first European store. Tell us about your latest opening and why you chose Notting Hill as a base…
For us, London was the natural next step in an exciting year of expansion outside of the US After a successful pop-up in 2016, the introduction of free worldwide shipping in the summer and now the Westbourne Grove store, we are excited to meet all the amazing London Ref girls and further our mission of bringing sustainable clothes to even more people. London is such a vibrant and diverse city and has always been a source of inspiration for me. Notting Hill is one of my favourite areas, so we chose to open our first store there. I love the restaurants and independent stores.
You’re an LA native, that’s something of an anomaly right?
Yes, but very happy and proud to be born and bred here in LA.
Where in LA do you live?
What’s the city’s dress code?
A pair of well-cut sustainable jeans, a white t-shirt and sneakers. Possibly a pair of heels for dinner depending on where I’m going, but we are pretty casual in LA. Key pieces to pack for a trip to LA include: jeans, jeans, jeans, some t-shirts and of course one or two easy slip dresses.
How would you define Reformation’s aesthetic?
When I started this business, I wanted to create a brand that would become a lifestyle. Reformation is about changing the world’s view on the fashion industry and educating consumers about the powerful effect we can all have on the environment. We are literally reforming the way people think, and creating beautiful, limited-edition collections out of vintage and surplus materials that people would have otherwise thought of as waste. Reformation offers clothes that people want to wear – they are on trend without being trendy, they are sexy but at the same time easy and chic, they are unique yet effortless and minimalist, and they celebrate the figure with beautiful silhouettes. We’re proving that fast fashion and sustainability can co-exist.
Do you feel that Reformation is a product of its environment?
LA is increasingly being recognised as a hub for creativity and fashion, which I love.
Reformation is an eco-friendly brand. Tell us more about your efforts in sustainability?
At Reformation we focus on every element in the production cycle, from start to finish. We use eco fabrics, utilise repurposed vintage pieces, deadstock fabrics and compostable packaging, and make sure all our retail locations are low-impact. Reformation has been carbon neutral since 2015 when we also introduced the RefScale, a tool that tracks each product’s environmental footprint by adding up the carbon dioxide emitted, water used and waste generated. Similar to how big companies report their profits through quarterly earnings reports, we release a quarterly sustainability report so that we can track our progress throughout the year, and our customers can make better and more empowered choices.
We also invest in offset programs that help replace a good amount of the resources used in production, as well as circularity initiatives that eliminate the concept of waste. We do this by reusing and recycling materials to put back into the fashion system. Fashion is one of the most polluting industries in the world. I strongly believe that the key to creating a more sustainable fashion community is to continue to innovate and prioritise environmentally conscious choices.
Coolest neighbourhoods in LA …
I love the energy in DTLA. Some amazing new restaurants and galleries have opened in the last five years which has really changed the vibe of the area.
Best hotel in the city…
The Beverly Hills Hotel, of course.
Where’s good for lunch?
Croft Alley, off Melrose Place, has the best kale salad in town. It’s a bit hard to find, but well worth the search.
For a late dinner book a table at…
Other food spots to try…
What’s the best way to explore the city?
Go hiking to get rid of any jet-lag and to enjoy an amazing view over the city. A perfect day would consist of heading to the beach in the morning, antiques shopping in the afternoon and dinner at Il Pastaio.
Where should we head on a Saturday morning?
Caffe Luxxe in Malibu.
For Sunday brunch book a table at…
Gjusta in Venice.
Favourite spots in the city…
One place only locals know about is…
Great day trips from the city include…
I love the dry heat, the inspiring mid-century architecture and the amazing vintage shopping in Palm Springs. I usually stay at the Parker Palm Springs hotel.
A souvenir to bring back…
A crystal. I get mine from a little store in Topanga.
One misconception about LA is…
I think there’s quite a few, but an important one is that not everyone wears sweatpants all day every day.
Underrated spots worth a visit…
I think it’s nice to slow down and have a self-care day. My favourite places to visit are Acutonix for acupuncture, PLAYLIST Yoga for a music-based yoga class and Vanessa Hernandez Skincare for a facial.
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