Discrimination: Not Cool
What was once known as the coast-to-coast cool girl garb, Reformation is now under fire due to the revelation of its racist and non-inclusive morale. The morals that companies, like Reformation, and their owners and founders operate on, or lack thereof, are beginning a whole new conversation around knowing the morals of the companies you support.
As Net-a-Porter said in 2019, “[g]o to any wedding or balmy evening party this summer and you’ll likely find at least one person wearing Reformation.” This fairy-like air and essence of Reformation, creating a guise of goodness filed into a “sustainability” folder, is likely to be no more, as founder Yael Aflolo’s racist corporate culture has been exposed. While Aflalo attempted to lull the controversy that will shroud her company’s name, the public is not buying it.
Notably, former employees, like Elle Santiago, came out to share the horrible discrimination they faced from Aflalo, who seems to find diversity a joke; with no place at her company. Santiago said despite her years and years of working at Reformation, white girls with “less or equal” experience continued to be hired over her for promotions. Santiago also said in her Instagram post that when she began at Reformation, “[n]o one at HQ had any clue how to run a retail store or care for customer service until I arrived...” Santiago continued to say that Aflalo would never look at her, and that Aflalo was not only discriminatory to Black people and people of color, but also to girls who did not fit the ideal physique in Aflalo’s eyes. Santiago’s informative post went on to call out Reformation generally, saying that if they want change, they should start with Aflalo herself.
Following Santiago’s post, as well as others, Reformation posted an apology, which seemed hollow and tone-deaf; vague about goals to diversify and be a part of the movement. Reformation’s “apology” seemed especially fake, with an opening slide of an aesthetically- written “I’ve failed,” The apology featured no concrete evidence on how the brand would plan to donate or change their statistics, which is not surprising after learning Aflalo’s beliefs. It was just another performative action post, to keep followers at bay and buying the products. It did not. It will not. What will Reformation, and most specifically, Aflalo, do?
The exposure of Reformation and Aflalo’s racist culture will hopefully make way for brands, and brands owned by Black people and people of color that are much more deserving. Her frilly dresses are the uniforms of
mainstream millennial Instagram dwellers, and she claims her brand is all about “...reframing old-school concepts. Such as, I can be feminine but I can also be in charge,” but the brand seems to perpetuate the old-school and never-ending concept of systemic racism.
By: Emily Goldberg