“It all started when I was younger, all I wanted to have was luau birthday parties. You know what I’m talking about: a Hawaiian theme with hula-hoops, limbo, tiki torches—all of that stuff,” says Reformation creative director Yael Aflalo at the launch party on Wednesday for her newly debuted Tiki Collection. We’re standing in the midst of childhood dreams come true, outside a Lower East Side warehouse transformed with tiki huts, tiny umbrellas, and enough Stolen Rum cocktails to keep this party going all weekend long. Not to mention, we got lei’d at the door…with fresh orchid crowns and puka shell necklaces. The beachy throwback beats were bumping, courtesy of DJ Alix Brown, and insta-memories were being made at the on-site photo booth—practically a pre-requisite these days for any buzz-worthy soiree. And there were plenty of social media savvy “it” girls and mods in attendance like 4th and Bleeker’s Alexandra Spencer, Emily Ratajowski, DJ Chelsea Leyland, Stella Maxwell, Natalie Suarez, and Maryna Linchuk.
“I was also thinking about New York in the summertime and how fun it is to juxtapose really fun tropical prints with the city. It transports you to somewhere else; New York really embraces that sense of dreaminess and inspiration,” Aflalo said of latest retro-infused offerings of adorable cropped two-piece looks in tropical prints, like the lush hibiscus print she’s rocking for the occasion. For those unfamiliar with Reformation, the eco-brand’s got a slightly edgy take on feminine. Sourcing fabrics from vintage finds, unconsumed deadstock, and sustainable textiles Reformation aims to reduce the amount of excess and waste that has become a byproduct of the industry. Aflalo’s design chops date back to her first foray into fashion, a brand called Ya-Ya, launched when she was 21 years old. Along the way, a few things have remained the same for the designer. “Fit is always something I’m really concerned with, and really focusing on making women feel beautiful.” We think all #refbabes will cheers to that!
PLUS! A Moment with Reformation’s Yael Aflalo on her designs, summer plans, and much more…
What’s your design process like?
We make clothes three ways: one is out of vintage, two is out of deadstock, like old designer stuff that we find, and the other way is sustainable fabrics that we source. It’s actually really fun to have some kind of boundaries around the design process. A lot of things inspire the silhouettes: things I see on the internet, things I see walking down the street, things I see my friends wearing.
Got any fun summer plans?
I’m going to Sweden on Saturday, for a wedding. I’m really excited because it’s going to be sunny for like 20 hours a day.
Sounds fun! Will you squeeze any sightseeing in?
Well, my boyfriend’s from Sweden, so he’s going to take me on a tour of meeting every single one of his friends and family. I guess there’s like a bazillion islands off the coast of Sweden, so we’re going to go to some of those islands. We’re arriving right on the summer solstice, which is the longest day of the year and there’s a giant Swedish party.
Traveling with a local is the best way to go!
I’m gonna know everything!
You’ve come a long way since Ya Ya. Is there anything that has carried over from those days to Reformation?
I think fit is always something I’m really concerned with. And really designing clothes for women, thinking what do I want to wear, what is going to feel flattering on me, and really focusing on making women feel beautiful.
Is Reformation something everyone can wear?
That’s hard to say. If you “design for everybody”, then what are you really making? I think we have a certain type of woman that we design for: self-confident, she likes trends but she’s not trendy, feminine but still edgy. I don’t think one characteristic defines people—I don’t know anyone like that. I know people that are multi-faceted and I think Reformation reflects that.
What’s one thing people should know who are discovering your brand for the first time?
How hard we work to make everything so perfect. We do a bazillion fittings, think about it all the time, we spend a lot of time from the way we do the photo shoots and everything, there’s a lot of really passionate people behind it.