Reformation is a clothing brand known for lacy dresses, exciting prints, and sustainable fashion. The brand as a whole has been very vocal about the importance of sustainability and prides themselves on their sustainable practices, promoting it essentially everywhere on their website and social media. From what I’ve found companies that boast about sustainability seem to be greenwashing, but reformation seems to deviate from this typical pattern as it suggests that they practice what they preach and are becoming a sustainable leader in the fashion industry.
Reformation uses a plethora of materials to create their products, and most seem to be sustainably sourced, eco-friendly, or from recycled textiles. For each product, Reformation labels what materials it’s made of while also including a rating of the product’s environmental impact with their “RefScale”. This scale conveys the environmental footprint of each product by tracking the carbon dioxide emitted, gallons of water used, and pounds of waste generated to make the product. I applaud reformation for putting in the effort and being so transparent to their consumers about the environmental impact of each product they produce. As a conscious consumer, having this information is valuable when choosing what to consume, and I think Reformation is doing a good job at starting to convey this information to consumers. It is not the most informative, however, as it only includes carbon dioxide emitted, gallons of water used, and pounds of waste generated. To improve this it would be helpful if they included more information on the product lifecycle before it's sold. I believe that this detail could be provided to increase their transparency further.
Reformation is also very conscious of the people who work for them, and are considerate of poor labor practices that occur throughout the industry. Reformation is working towards paying 100% living wages towards all their employees, which is not the case as many minimum wages for workers in factories are well below what would be considered a living wage. Reformation is also taking major steps towards transparency about their factories by publishing their list of factories on their website to their consumers. Since most of their factories are located locally in Los Angeles where the company is based, Reformation has close access to visit factories and assess how their workers are treated. For international factories, reformation sends out a survey to assess working conditions within their employees to hear any feedback that could improve their working experience. Ref's emphasis on understanding their worker's voice, In my opinion, is a huge step that a company can take since the factory conditions and where the products are made can be very telling to the sustainability of a product. Representation is also important to the brand as over ¾ of their employees are women from underrepresented populations. Each of these factors plays a role in what makes up Reformation’s products, and I believe that they are a leader when it comes to how their products are made.
Reformation began in Los Angeles in 2009, first selling vintage clothing transitioning to creating products with a focus on making sustainable fashion more accessible. The company has expanded over the years, and with that comes the expansion of Ref's sustainable practices. Reformation is one of the few companies I’ve seen that releases a detailed sustainability report for each quarter. Along with the sustainability report, they also have outlined their sustainable framework beginning in 2019 to 2025. This includes detailed goals in the focus areas of people, planet, product, and progress all with an emphasis on aligning their goals with the United Nations SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals). This amongst the current practices that reformation engages in has me applauding the company for making a valiant effort to be sustainable.
While Reformation does many things right when it comes to sustainability, there is always room for improvement. Reformation stands apart from many other clothing brands as a sustainable leader amongst the industry, the brand could be more transparent when it comes to the chemicals they use on their clothing or their animal welfare practices, as they use recycled wool and leather in some of their products. Reformation's clothing is also not the most accessible as the prices tend to range on the higher side for clothing. If Reformation could decrease their prices, I think that it would further improve their company and increase their reach and impact. Although this may be the case, no company is going to be perfect when it comes to sustainability. Reformation’s emphasis and transparency about its sustainable practices is a step in the right direction, and in my opinion, proves that it is one of the companies contributing to positive environmental change.