Profiled: How Yael Aflalo Made Reformation Into a Powerhouse
You wouldn't know it from the brand's instant recognition and widely beloved reputation in the fashion world, but Reformation is only six years old. Founder Yael Aflalo, following the cult success of her debut fashion line, Ya-Ya, started the eco-friendly label in Los Angeles in 2009 when she became seriously disheartened by the state of the fashion industry's negative environmental impact.
"I became very interested in technology as well as the environment, specifically the impact of fashion on the environment, and I realized that there were some serious problems," Aflalo told us when we sat down recently for a conversation with the 37-year-old entrepreneur. "I went to China and saw the pollution firsthand, and I realized I couldn’t really be a part of it—and I also became acutely aware that there was an opportunity to do something about it."
And do something she did. Aflalo founded Reformation with a humble goal in mind: to produce chic, sustainable clothes that women would actually want to wear.
"I'm a girl who likes clothes, and I try to think about what the important things are when making clothes as a woman," Aflalo explains. "The most important thing to me is if the dress is flattering. When they’re shopping, the majority of women put something on and want to feel good about themselves; to me my interest lies in making things that are really compelling, and compelling for the reason that women feel amazing in them."
The success of the brand can be partially measured by the feverish fan following in the celebrity world: Emily Ratajkowski, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Kendall Jenner, Karlie Kloss, and Taylor Swift are only a few of the famous names who are obsessed with the brand. But Aflalo tells us that the celebrity following she's built has been completely organic and not at all strategic.
"I think a lot of [designers] think, 'How am I going to get my clothes on celebrities?!'" Aflafo muses. "That's not our strategy. Our strategy is to make the best possible clothes; that is the key thing that we're trying to do, and not to get too distracted by thinking we need to get clothes on celebrities. I feel like that’s how people go about it, and that’s kind of misguided, I think—if the product is really awesome, people will want to buy it, and some of those people will happen to be celebrities."
The number one thing she's learned in the brief but wildly successful past six years? The importance of self-awareness—and being good at math.
"I think it's really important to be very self-aware and understand your strengths and weaknesses. Also, you shouldn't start your own business unless you're good at math or like math, unless you have a really good business partner," she warns. "There's a bunch of different things you need to be careful of in business, but you have to be hyper self-aware of your own strengths and weaknesses so you can build your team around that."
Aflalo's levels of self-awareness seem to be going strong; earlier this year, Reformation raised $12 million in investment funding, and the brand shows no signs of stopping in its mission to take over the hearts of fashion girls far and wide.
Keep scrolling to shop some of our favorite current Reformation pieces now!
What do you think of Yael Aflalo's strategy for Reformation over the years? Tell us in the comments below, and also share which pieces you're loving from the current collection!