Getting Under The Skin Of Alexa’s Favourite Vintage-Inspired E-Store

Warning: read this and you'll want a lot of stuff


by Pandora Sykes |
Published on

Answering the phone from her bed at 7.30am, Brianna Lance admits, gravelly voiced, that she doesn’t sleep enough. And it’s no wonder. By day she is one half of The Reformation, an eco-fashion brand that cites Alexa Chung, Taylor Swift, Suki Waterhouse, Karlie Kloss and pretty much every stylish girl in between as a fan. By night she’s lead singer in a Brooklyn based all girl alt-rock band, Bad Girlfriend.


But her sleep-deprivation is your best friend because owning one of The Reformation’s signature backless floral dresseswill quite possibly change if not your life, then your wardrobe. The designs, based on vintage finds and often using repurposed fabrics, are the reason so many fashion editors have made a pit-stop to The Reformation’s cavernous store in LA. But luckily for you and your life, you can now get them shipped direct to your desk from The Reformation’s banging online store. Which is why it’s time to discover more about the sustainable label that’s making eco clothing anything but granola…


The Debrief: Morning! How did The Reformation originally kick off?

Brianna Lance: Well, I originally trained at Parsons School of Design in NYC and my friend Yael Afalo [FYI she’s also beyond hip] asked me to come design with her at this label she’d started called The Reformation. We originally just customized vintage. We collaborated with Urban Outfitters reworking vintage dresses, then we started to make our own dresses inspired by vintage that we found, and the company just grew.

**DB: How do you source those vintage dresses? I don’t think I’d ever find such bounty in my local Barnardo’s. **

BL: Ha! In LA there are huge ‘rag houses’ which are basically warehouses full of cardboard boxes. It’s like a giant thrift store but bigger and dirtier. We have girls who literally just go vintage shopping for us, searching out those incredible one-off pieces.

DB: Wow. So, once they find a gem, how does that translate to one of your designs?

BL: If they find a dress that makes the body look good, we will almost always copy the shape. We’ll change details like the neck, the colour, the hemline. But we we’ll keep the body the same. We don’t make clothes that are super fashion forward; we understand fashion and we know what’s going on, but we really look at our designs on the principle of what do you want to wear.


DB: Is that your fashion mantra?

BL: Definately. We’re less 'try this new skirt length that probably won’t look good on you' and more, 'if you’re petite let’s accentuate your waist' When we design, we sculpt on a human form, so we can really see how to show off a woman’s body. Our goal is to look sexy but cool and non cheesy. It’s a female idea of what’s sexy, not a male's.

DB: Let’s talk about your fanbase. Your seriously popular Instagram account (@reformation) is a hot roster of ‘Ref babes’.

BL: We just wanted our Instagram to be funny. You read so much about fashion like it’s so serious. Our ‘Ref babes’ are just anyone who supports the brand. Karlie Kloss is a new fan. When we were tiny, the Victoria’s Secret Angels used to come in and get little dresses and they have spread the word amongst them! Alexa is obviously a big support too.


DB: Which Ref babes are your muses?

BL: I design for the girls in my life. I think about Alexa a lot when I design. I’m based in New York, so I like to think about cool girls in New York, while Yael is based in LA, so she thinks about cool girls in LA. We also design what we want to wear. I think female designers do design for themselves. Then they can then road-test everything!


**DB: Let’s talk about sustainability. That’s a big part of The Reformation, right? You repurpose a lot of vintage fabric in your clothes, but you use new stuff too. **

BL: Right. There are a lot of sustainable lines out there, but they are really expensive, and it’s just not a price point that’s accessible to people. For example, we’d love to use silk but it would be too expensive for our customer base, so we use rayon because it’s really nice to drape with and it falls on the body in an incredible way. A lot of our dresses are also now made from cellular plant fibres, so that they can regrow the plant and it’s done in a way that helps water waste. When we use materials like fur and leather, we repurpose them from vintage; it’s less wasteful for the environment. Our basic principle behind what we are doing is ‘don’t trash the planet’.

DB: Maybe it should be: ‘Save the planet and flaunt your bod in a backless number while you do it’?

BL: Ha ha, yes. I guess you do have to be comfortable with your body to wear our clothes, as we do play up to the female form. But, I do genuinely think our clothes look awesome on all body types. If you have a big bust but want to wear a backless dress, just wear a cool bra and flash the strap.



Pictures: Courtesy of The Reformation, Getty

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This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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