Reformation Factory Tour
While waiting in the lobby of Reformation's downtown Los Angeles factory, I realized how rare it is in fashion to tour an apparel factory. Literally, no one does that! It is no secret that the fashion industry has a lot of adjustments to make in order to reduce its impact on our planet and improve the ethical treatment of workers in factories overseas. And although some brands say that they are incorporating more sustainable standards, Reformation is stepping it up by opening it's doors proudly, giving it's conscious customers a look at the process behind its clothing and the faces of the employees making it all happen.
Our guide was Kathleen Talbot, VP of Sustainability and Operations and she gave us the rundown. We were a very curious group and she gave us every answer we needed. Reformation stays green by producing 80% of all its merchandise at the LA factory, the building includes energy efficient features such as low energy lighting and even small details like wooden mouses at the computer desks. They produce small quantities of apparel to ensure they sell out. They source some textiles locally, invest in recycling for synthetic textiles, and design with organic fabrics from screened suppliers as well. From pattern, to sewing, fitting, being photographed, posted online and shipped once sold - everything goes down at this same location! They also contribute to sustainability focused organizations by donating a percentage of sales from their curated collections.
On top of creating guilt free clothing they take care of their employees by giving them fair wages, assisting and subsidizing them through citizenship applications and twice a week ESL classes if needed. They pay for their metrocards, give them one day a month paid day to volunteer in the community, celebrate birthdays by donating to Tree People and having a tree planted in their name and the best part... the ability to bring their dog to work whenever! (we met a couple adorable fur friends while waiting for the tour to begin!).
Reformation's open house tours are the first Friday of every month and you simply have to send them an email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a spot.
Shop and Learn more about their sustainability efforts HERE.
Reformation may be out of some people's price range but there are a lot of other brands who are taking steps to become more sustainable. If you are curious about your favorite brands impact you should check out Good On You App. Simply search your brand and the app will tell you how sustainable the company is and help you discover other green brands to fall in love with!
If you are not happy with what you learn about the brand but still want to shop with them, that is totally cool! Brands love to hear feedback from their customers and you shouldn't hesitate to ask them to be more conscious of their standards or to be more transparent about how their clothes are made. Companies need a little pressure to step their green game up! Ask #WhoMadeMyClothes. Fashion Revolution even pre-wrote a letter you can download, fill in the company name, sign and send. So easy! I am making my list of brands to ask asap!
My favorite part of the tour was what I walked away with. What I already knew but am more passionate about after the tour is that we can only take responsibility for ourselves, our actions and what we consume. So let's be a little more responsible in any little way we can. Ok?