Reformation opens its first Canadian store with high-tech purchases – WWD

Reformation, the Los Angeles clothing brand founded in 2009 to be all things sustainable, has seen a major retail rollout in recent years.

On Wednesday, it opens its ninth store this year. It is located in the Toronto suburb of Yorkville, Canada, not far from its first store in Canada at Yorkdale Shopping Centre.

The newest 3,556 square foot location at 87 Yorkville Avenue will be Reformation’s first Canadian location to integrate the company’s in-house, high-tech shopping system developed in 2017 and launched at its San Francisco location. Francis.

High-tech shopping is now present in 30 of the company’s 36 stores. “The goal is for the majority of our stores to have this technology experience because it really brings the online and in-store experience together and makes it more seamless for the customer,” said Hali Borenstein, Reformation’s managing director since 2020, when company founder Yael Aflalo left the organization.

In support of its sustainability mission, the new store, like all Reformation outlets, features natural and recyclable materials, including vintage furniture, eco-friendly fabrics and hangers, and reusable bins. All of the store’s electricity is offset by wind power, the company said.

Throughout the new Canadian store, there are touch screens allowing customers to digitally select items they would like to try. Selections end up in one of the store’s eight “magic wardrobe” dressing rooms with two-way doors to a closet that allows staff to place additional items that customers have ordered via a touch screen from the wardrobe.

To enhance the experience, each dressing room has three lighting selections: cool, gold or “sexy time”.

Reformation believes in-store retail technology makes shopping easier for customers and frees up sales staff. “We found that our team was so busy putting clothes away or trying to be very transactional, that it was difficult for them to really build a deep relationship with the customer,” Borenstein explained.

Reform has been on the rise since Permira, a private equity fund, acquired a majority stake in the company in 2019.

At the time, Reformation had 14 stores in the United States and no permanent international doors. It now has 36 stores, including five in England and Canada, and nine new stores are expected to open next year, Borenstein said.

One of the next stores to open will be a flagship outpost at South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, California, home to high-profile brands such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale’s, Max Mara, Tiffany, Burberry, Balenciaga, Chanel and Dolce & Gabbana. The Reformation location is expected to debut in January and occupy approximately 4,000 square feet.

Even though 70-75% of the company’s revenue comes from online sales, Reformation is convinced that retail is not dead.

The company examines where its e-commerce sales are strong, then goes from there to determine store locations. “We are very customer-oriented. So when you think about how customers buy, they don’t think about whether it’s online or in-store,” Borenstein said. “They are going to do what suits them or what makes sense to them. So if you want to be convenient and on top of customers’ minds, I think we need to be in both places.

And when a Reformation store opens, e-commerce sales in that region also see a surge.

Reformation began humbly as a side project for Yael Aflalo, who at the time ran Ya-Ya, her first clothing brand. Her side project involved selling vintage clothes and apparel made from unsold fabrics in the backroom of a Los Angeles retail store as part of her mission to reduce textile waste.

Since then, the company has transformed into a global brand that continues to pursue this mission and be more climate friendly.

Every new merchandise developed by Reformation incorporates sustainability and is 100% carbon neutral. The company said it is committed to being climate positive by 2025.

About 50% of the company’s goods are produced overseas, in Europe and Asia. The rest is made in the United States, including Los Angeles, where it has its own sustainable factory employing 200 workers.

In recent years, Reformation has added new categories of durable merchandise. The two most recent additions are activewear and footwear.

Shoes were particularly difficult to shape for durability.

“For a dress, if you get the right fabric, you do 70-80% of the work. In shoes you have 25 to 30 components and each has its own supply chain,” Borenstein said. “And it’s really difficult.”

For shoes, Reformation turned to Brazil, which makes sustainable leather. “From the ranch and beyond, from the chemicals used to the water runoff, it’s very different from your typical leather processing supply chain,” said Reformation’s CEO.

Recently, Reformation partnered with Canada Goose for a collection of sustainable outerwear and accessories. Intended to be passed down from generation to generation, the outerwear features an exclusive inner lining with a “Loved By” tag, which includes blank lines that can be filled in with the names of friends and family as the clothes are shared and reused over the years. .

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