Nordstrom has added eco-friendly women's apparel retailer Reformation to its stable of up-and-coming brands, available online and in select stores, according to the department store's blog The Thread.
It's Reformation's first wholesale gig, according to Business of Fashion. The vertically integrated brand, which according to Nordstrom's promotional materials uses sustainably produced fabrics, rescued deadstock fabrics and repurposed vintage clothing to make its apparel, runs 11 stores (in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Boston and Dallas) along with its website.
The brand this month also enlisted enterprise SaaS commerce platform Workarea for its e-commerce and tech-enabled retail stores, which include what Reformation calls a "magic wardrobe" — in-dressing room touchscreens where customers can digitally browse and add items.
For an apparel maker and retailer with collections full of bright, breezy, easy-going fashion, Reformation is deadly serious about its sustainable practices.
It's not the easiest stance to take, considering the price pressures and intricate supply chain demands of garment production, not to mention the notoriously ecological damage and waste endemic to the industry. The company uses electricity from renewable resources at its Los Angeles factory, its packaging is eco-friendly and its new fabrics are sourced from sustainable manufacturers like Lenzing and materials like its Tencel fabric — along with recycled and re-purposed raw materials.
"It is imperative that we set an example and make sustainable choices across our entire supply chain, from the ground up," founder and CEO Yael Aflalo told Nordstrom's blog, in which she also calls fashion "the third most polluting industry in the world." She later noted that, "Every little bit helps."
The brand was founded in 2009 and is doing well in its niche, and the tie-up with Nordstrom is designed to widen its reach more than to boost its topline, Aflalo told Business of Fashion. Its e-commerce contributes 80% of sales, its stores another 20%, according to that report. "Our goal is to bring sustainable fashion to everyone," she told the magazine. "It's popular on the coasts but there are a lot of American women that we don't know yet."
For all its vintage inspiration — Aflalo is particularly taken with designs from the sixties and the nineties — the brand is also solidly supported by technology. The brand maintains for what in the fashion business is a breakneck speed in production, in some cases going from sketch to dress in about 30 days, according to the company's press release with Workarea. It's more common in the industry for items to be designed a year ahead, and the companies said that the platform enables "catalog and content management efficiency and automation."
The tech is also key to its omnichannel operations, the retailer said. "We wanted a great e-commerce site, but we needed a platform that could be that and much more, including being a key part of our tech-enabled retail stores where online and brick-and-mortar experiences blend in exciting ways," Reformation VP of Technology Kevin Hollingsworth said in a statement.