Cause Célèbre

An L.A.-based eco-fashion line counts A-listers among its biggest fans.

The Reformation Taylor Swift
A WELL-TAYLORED LOOK: Swift's affinity for The Reformation—coupled with the paparazzi's affinity for the pop star—has made the singer into an accidental spokesmodel for the sustainable clothing line.
Credit: Photo: L to R: Getty Images; Startraks Photos; Getty Images; Corbis

One day last July, singer Taylor Swift went for a walk in New York City, pairing her Gucci pumps with a floral romper from a relatively unheard-of brand: The Reformation. A few days later, paparazzi caught her sporting a skirt-and-bralet set bearing the same label. And yet again, a couple days later, they snapped the starlet wearing still another outfit from this mysterious clothing line with a name that evokes a world-changing religious movement.

Since even the briefest walk taken by Swift attracts massive media coverage, this sequence of outings proved to be a brand-identity tipping point for The Reformation. But it may also help tip our culture’s largely superficial who-are-you-wearing dialogue with celebrities in a welcome new direction. Because in addition to being the current hot fashion label among young female pop stars (Rihanna and Miley Cyrus are also fans), The Reformation is—proudly, publicly, and fundamentally—an eco-friendly brand.

When designer Yael Aflalo launched the label back in 2010, her hope was simply to blend her own fashion sensibility with a growing interest in an environmentally responsible lifestyle. “For the fashion girl who wanted to buy sustainably, there were no options,” she says. “So I decided to create some.”

Yael Aflalo Reformation
Yael Aflalo tailors her designs on various people with different body types prior to selling them on The Reformation's website and in its three boutiques.
Credit: Photo: Felisha Tolentino

In the nearly five years since, Aflalo has grown The Reformation into an innovative company that creates sexy, fashion-forward clothes with a greatly reduced environmental footprint. Take its T-shirts: Instead of using 200 to 400 gallons of water per shirt during production, many of the tees require only six. On top of that, they are made mostly from Tencel, a durable and 100 percent biodegradable cellulose fiber derived from wood pulp. Further evidence of the company’s sustainability principles: The Reformation aims for all its products to be completely animal-free by the end of 2015. These steps are small reflections of a much larger ethos that Aflalo believes her industry is finally ready to embrace.

“You have these consumers who are conscious about the stuff they eat and the apothecary items they put on their skin,” she says. “But they haven’t yet had this paradigm shift of thinking about the effects of what they wear. Part of our job is to make sure that shift occurs.”

This article was originally published on onEarth, which is no longer in publication. onEarth was founded in 1979 as the Amicus Journal, an independent magazine of thought and opinion on the environment. All opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the policies or positions of NRDC. This article is available for online republication by news media outlets or nonprofits under these conditions: The writer(s) must be credited with a byline; you must note prominently that the article was originally published by and link to the original; the article cannot be edited (beyond simple things such grammar); you can’t resell the article in any form or grant republishing rights to other outlets; you can’t republish our material wholesale or automatically—you need to select articles individually; you can’t republish the photos or graphics on our site without specific permission; you should drop us a note to let us know when you’ve used one of our articles.

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