Reformation, a clothing brand that prides itself on sustainability and is a fashion favorite among celebrities like Taylor Swift and Meghan Markle, opened its first San Diego store at Westfield UTC on Monday.
For the uninitiated, the brand is well known on the Internet, particularly for its dresses that look fresh and Instagram ready. In actuality, these fashionable frocks are made from “low-impact materials, rescued deadstock fabrics, and repurposed vintage clothing” to ensure that already made textiles don’t get wasted according to the company’s website.
Reformation’s newest storefront displays the brand’s commitment to a sustainability-centered business model, from the intentional layout of the clothes to a technology-integrated shopping experience.
Hali Borenstein, chief executive officer of Reformation, said in an email that Reformation chose to open a store in San Diego based on the company’s strong ecommerce presence in the market.
“We decide where to open new stores based on where we have a strong online presence and try to hone in on locations that are most central for our customers in that market,” she said. “We’re an L.A.-based brand, so California has always been home to us and we’re excited to offer more of our SoCal customers a place to shop Reformation in person.”
This marks the 25th location for the brand. The next closest storefront is in the Los Angeles area where the company is headquartered.
Reformation was founded in 2009 and its newest store in San Diego builds on the brand’s tech-driven approach to creating an eco-friendly fashion business. For example, to cut down on waste, the company makes trendy clothes out of fabric that was overproduced and would otherwise go unused.
According to a report by the Environmental Protection Agency, more than 11 million tons of textiles ended up in landfills in 2018. Last year, an industry analysis projected that the global ethical fashion market is expected to reach $8.3 billion in 2025.
While “sustainability” has become a popular term in the fashion industry, Reformation aims to back it up by publishing its environmental footprint each quarter and through the intentional layout of its storefronts.
It’s all about what you don’t see when you walk into the minimalist store. From raw flooring to energy efficient lights to the lack of a cash register, the store’s design is aimed at saving energy and minimizing waste. For instance, transactions are done on an iPad and chip reader instead of a cash register to cut down on paper.
Customers will also notice only a handful of racks that are not swelling with identical clothing items. Instead, the store models a showroom experience where shoppers can see a style, then select it on a television-sized touchscreen on either wall. Their selections are then sent to a dressing room where it will appear in a “magic wardrobe” that is stocked with the items.
Keeping just a few items on the floor also alludes to the company’s goal of not overproducing items. In turn, this also creates a sense of exclusivity when an item sells out, just as it did when Taylor Swift donned a yellow Reformation summer dress in a viral TikTok last year.
The cross between the online and brick-and-mortar shopping experience makes sense for the brand, which has a strong e-commerce and social media presence among influencers and celebrities. In addition to its dresses, Reformation has a variety of shoes, jeans and tops that all range in price from about $50 to $250 a piece.
The private company declined to share current revenue or sales figures. In 2019, Reformation was acquired by global private equity firm Permira Advisers to build on $37 million in funding from previous investors Stripes Group, 14W and Imaginary Ventures, reported the New York Times.