Reformation Is Changing the World, One Pair of Jeans at a Time

This feature is dedicated to our #NoChangeNoFuture initiative. From the Women’s March, to Australia voting yes to same sex marriage, and the #MeToo movement, 2017 taught us to look beyond ourselves and come together as a collective of powerful women who are writing our own history. Join us as we cancel setting one-dimensional personal resolutions this January and commit to being the change we want to see. Because without change, there is no future.


(Image credit: Reformation)

There’s no denying it, we love denim. Flared jeans, boyfriend jeans, even double denim. But something that most people don’t know (or choose not to think about) is that denim does have a dark side. While it may be the best addition to any outfit, it’s one of the worst textiles for the environment.

For those in-the-know, this is no secret; there has even been a documentary, River Blue, made about the issue. In an interview with Brooklyn Fashion and Design Accelorator, the film’s director shared that the pollution caused by denim is “worse than we imagined, even with prior research”.

To get a little more insight, we spoke with Amber Schiffer, the marketing director of one of our go-to denim brands, Reformation. Needless to say, the stats she shared astounded us.

For example, did you know that it takes 5678 litres of water to make the typical pair of jeans? And those “distressed” styles we all love? The acid and dyes that go into creating that pre-worn look mean that the jeans come out carrying as much as .34 kilos of chemicals. Furthermore, when jeans are made, an excessive amount of scrap fabric is created: Over 400 million meters, to be exact. If that figure seems a little abstract, that’s enough to circle the earth 11 times over. Feeling terrified yet?

Hearing about this kind of damage we unknowingly contribute to is heartbreaking, to say the least. So, what does one do when confronted with this kind of wake-up-call? Thankfully, there are sustainable brands out there—Reformation being one of them.

Related: What Other Fashion Brands Can Learn From ASOS and Urban Outfitters

By shopping more consciously, you can support brands that are doing the right thing. Then you're not only supporting brands who minimise their impact on the planet, but also cutting down on the damage you do to it as well.

Unlike other brands who prioritise low-cost and mass manufacturing, Reformation keeps the environment in mind first and foremost. Compared to the 5678 litres of water that other retailers use to create a pair of jeans, Reformation cuts that down by 88 percent, using an average of only 680 litres—which sounds very good in comparison. Furthermore, Reformation skips out on the chemical-heavy-distressing process altogether, opting instead for using hand sand and stone washing and an ozone machine.

Finally, Reformation goes further by not only practising sustainability within their own production, but also using what others deem as waste to create their products. Using deadstock fabric, the brand avoids adding to the mess created by all those scraps of leftover denim. And not only do they focus on the denim itself, but the water that goes into producing it. Schiffer shares, “We purchase water and CO2 offsets for all Ref Jeans to bring our footprint to 0.”

Not many brands—especially fashion brands, who are directly involved in manufacturing—can say that they have no carbon footprint. When it’s almost impossible to imagine achieving this, even on a personal level, it goes without saying that Reformation is definitely pushing the boundaries. Now, we can only hope that other brands begin to catch on as well. Shop some of our favourite pieces below.