According to a story appearing in the magazine Entrepreneur (June issue) Yael Aflalo, a former designer of dresses for Urban Outfitters, the attire she was making was made out of dwindling fossil fuels. Now the owner and operator of Reformation, Aflalo is stirring things up in the apparel market – an industry famed for its pollution-producing clothing lines. Aflalo spoke of her time while working for Urban Outfitters, noting the toxins in the air when in Dongguan, China. Cotton Hurts The Environment According to the International Trade Centre (ITC) and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NDRC), Cotton used in clothing is not good for the environment; it takes as much as 700 gallons of water to make a cotton shirt. At the same time, the cotton crop will use 25% of the global insecticides and 2.5% of the arable land in the world. Alternatively, many pieces of apparel are made of spandex, nylon, acrylic, or polyester materials, all of which are manufactured with a petroleum base. The latter products release chemicals during the decomposition phase and can take many years to finally biodegrade. Passion For Fashion Aflalo, having a passion for fashion but not its toll on the environment had reached an impasse. She loved her experience making fashion, but did not want to participate in the way clothing was being manufactured. Her first line of wholesale clothing, Ya-Ya, went under when the company was faced with a financial crisis. To keep money coming in, she began making private label attire for the like of Urban Outfitters and alternative retailers. Later, in 2009, Aflalo established Reformation , a green, environmentally friendly line; but do not let the word green fool you – that does not mean the line does not have style. In fact, Aflalo has combined green practices with style, thereby creating a sustainable fashion brand. The brand began with sketched out prototypes, and later pseudo replicates made of vintage attire were made by in house sample makers. With the new line, Aflalo has gone for the “pure design aesthetic,” as she seeks to simplify how attire is made and looks. She is addressing the real concern women have when they buy clothes: how does it hang on the body, and if it actually fits comfortably. Reformation involves making small runs – for each design, about 200 pieces are created. The small run model allows for ease of sell out. A new collection is revealed on a weekly basis. Sustainable Fashion Aflalo has three physical stores, one in Los Angeles and two in New York, and sells her line online as well. Reformation unveils new collections on its website every week. Products are sold direct-to-consumer through the website and at three brick-and-mortar stores (two in New York and one in Los Angeles). Over 60 percent of her fashion creations are created out of sustainable materials, and another 15 percent comes from fabric overages from textile manufacturers. The remaining product comes from vintage products pulled from rag houses. The packaging and hangers are 100% recyclable as well. Clearly, Alfalo’s idea has merit; her income has doubled in four years and she achieved $25 million just last year. The designer is looking to the future and considering a retail concept with a digital/physical model. The aim will be to leverage digital technologies in physical locations so consumers have a unique and memorable shopping experience.