Reformation

Highlights

  • Strong climate commitments
  • Prioritizing circularity
  • Guide post for other brands

About

Reformation is the darling of sustainable-girl fashion brands. Founded in 2009 by Yael Aflalo, this Los Angeles-based brand has gained recognition for its stylish and sustainable clothing. By 2014, you couldn't go to a wedding without seeing a guest in a floral print Ref dress, thanks to their slinky romantic silhouettes.

Reformation aims to create effortless and chic pieces while minimizing their environmental footprint. Alfalo, a fashion designer with roots in retail, started by selling retailored vintage clothing out of a small Los Angeles storefront. Since then, the brand has become a household name for fashion-forward individuals looking to impact the planet positively.

While we love a staple Ref dress's casual, cool look, the brand goes far beyond just dresses. Reformation carries a diverse range of apparel that can take you to a formal affair, a weekend hang, a breezy summer Euro trip, and even to work. They have recently introduced shoes and now even a new handbag collection.

What's Proper

  • Climate positive future. Reformation is committed to reaching climate positivity by 2025. They are reducing their greenhouse gas emissions and offsetting more emissions than they produce. Reformation has published a Climate Positive Roadmap detailing the steps they'll take to reach their goal. Some key action areas include improving their material selection, prioritizing circular practices, reducing transport emissions, and reducing energy consumption in their factory and retail operations.
  • Circularity. Reformation has another big goal slated for 2030. They are working to become a circular business by using nearly zero virgin materials and making 100% of their product textile-to-textile recyclable. Similar to their climate positivity campaign, Reformation has published a Circularity Roadmap, giving insight into how they plan to achieve this ambitious goal. The brand has aligned with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation circularity guidelines, making products that are made to be used more, made to be made again, and made from safe and recycled or renewable inputs.
    In March 2022, Reformation launched RefRecyling, where over 577 people actively recycled their Ref, helping the brand divert over 3,453 pounds of Ref from the landfill. Items returned through RefRecyling are collected in partnership with SuperCircle and made into new textiles.
  • Guide for other brands. Becoming sustainable takes work, especially doing so without simply greenwashing. Reformation has recognized that and created a guide for other brands. In "How to Become a Climate Positive Business," Reformation has outlined steps, learnings, and methodologies other brands can employ to adopt a sustainable business model. The fashion industry is estimated to contribute up to 10% of global emissions, so partnership and collaboration are crucial to progress.

What's Not

  • Behind the ball. We won't dwell on this because one of our values at Proper is 'Progress over Perfection', but as a brand founded on the notion of sustainability, we think Reformation needs to catch up on progress. While we certainly don't know this for sure, it feels like Ref was founded with vintage (aka circular) apparel at its core and then lost its sustainability mindset as it rapidly grew during the mid to late 2010s. Now, it's coming back around putting sustainability back at the forefront. Like Everlane, as one of the first brands one might think of when thinking about sustainable fashion, we wish that Reformation was further along in its journey to sustainability. Nevertheless, we applaud the brand for its forward-looking commitments and are excited to follow along with each new Sustainability Report.
  • For skinny minnies. Reformation has been thrown shade for only creating looks for a specific type of woman: thin, tall, and rich. While they offer extended sizing in some items, that selection is limited. Ref Jeans only go up to a size 31, and as noted in the reviews below, they tend to run small. We'd love to see Ref expand their denim line to carry inclusive sizes.

Denim Review

Ref's jean line, primarily made of organic and regeneratively grown cotton, shows that you don't have to sacrifice quality or style for sustainability. We love their classic rigid jeans and the ultra-cool denim dresses, trench coats and skirts.

Reformation jeans are sized inconsistently. They tend to run on the smaller end of true to size all the way to a full size or two small. For me, a size 28 (my typical jean size) in most Ref jeans did fit me but they were more snug than 28s in other brands; not small enough for me to size up but snug enough that I'm really depending on the denim to loosen a bit with wear. Other Ref jeans were at least 1-2 sizes too small for me.

Juniper High Rise Wide Leg

$348
High Rise
Wide-Leg
Buy Here

The Juniper High Rise Wide Leg jean from Reformation are absolutely stunning. They are part of, The Collection, a limited edition luxury line designed by Laura Vassar of Brock collection. All of the denim in The Collection is made from 100% organic cotton and made in Reformation's factory in Los Angeles.

The Juniper jeans are ultra wide leg with an extra tall cuff. They are leg lengthening and downright beautiful.

Fit Summary

True to size. Run long. Hemming risks losing cuff detail.

Liza Ultra High Rise Straight Cropped

$148
High Rise
Straight
Buy Here

These go-to jeans feature a jet black wash, an extra high rise, and a classing straight leg fit. Wear them with a tee and sneakers, or take your look in a more polished direction with a silk top and heels.

Fit Summary

Runs small. We recommend sizing up.

Wilder High Rise Leg Cropped

$148
High Rise
Wide-Leg
Buy Here

A classic wide leg jean fitted through the waist, hip and thighs. Reformation's Wilder jeans are the perfect every day jean versatile enough to dress up or down. The organic cotton and Refibra Lyocell blend provide a rigid, non-stretch fit.

Fit Summary

Runs small. With a rigid denim, we recommend sizing up for a more comfortable fit. We especially recommend sizing up if you have a curvy frame. Runs long for a cropped jean.

Lake High Rise Split Hem Bootcut

$148
High Rise
Bootcut
Buy Here

The Lake High Rise is a fun play on your standard medium wash boot cut jean. The split hem and raw edges give the jean a very on trend twist. Perfect for pairing with a statement shoe, the mix of the high waist and the split hem frames your legs in a tailored fit before fanning out at the ankles to show off your shoes.

Fit Summary

True to size. Run long.