DIRECT TO CONSUMER HONOREE
YAEL AFLALO, Reformation
Created in 2009 by Yael Aflalo, Reformation designs and manufactures the majority of its limited-edition collections in its factory headquarters in downtown Los Angeles. All other garments are produced by responsible manufacturing partners here in the U.S. or abroad using sustainable methods and materials. Aflalo insists upon sourcing sustainable fabrics and vintage garments while incorporating better practices throughout the supply chain to make beautiful styles at a fraction of the environmental impact of conventional fashion. It is Aflalo’s and Reformation’s mission to lead and inspire a sustainable way to be fashionable.
Aflalo, herself a former model, launched the Reformation label in the back room of a store in Los Angeles. After a few years of rapid and mounting success with her hip and popular designs and styles, she began investigating the roots of all materials being used by her brand. The Southern California native also started reading up on both ethical manufacturing and various strategies to scale the company.
In 2012, with the money she had made from Reformation’s early years, along with a side project producing private-label clothes for Urban Outfitters, Aflalo relaunched Reformation as an e-commerce business centered on a two-story factory in downtown Los Angeles and three stores, two in New York and one in L.A. In 2014 it had revenues of $25 million and now counts Taylor Swift and Rihanna among its high profile paying customers.
Online, each piece is accompanied by information on both its carbon and water footprints, and each shipment to customers includes a “RefRecycling” label that allows clients to send in clothes for repurposing.
Aflalo has even assigned a team to figure out how to lower the environmental impact of Reformation’s website.
FINALIST: JONATHAN SHOKRIAN, MeUndies, Inc.
Jonathan Shokrian is the Founder and Executive Chairman of MeUndies, the lifestyle brand making underwear and loungewear a more important part of its customers’ wardrobes. Shokrian launched the company in 2011 when he saw the opportunity to simplify the underwear shopping experience with superior product and world-class customer experience. MeUndies continues to grow exponentially each year and has sold over 5.5 million pairs of underwear to date.
Shokrian’s MeUndies is a brand that not only provides a premium product at an affordable price, but also is also inclusive and marketed towards all types of today’s consumers. Shokrian has led the team through revving up social media presence, launching a newly branded motif for the company, and getting celebrities and influencers on board to spread a positive, resonating message. Most recently, he helped launch a new and improved MeUndies, solidifying the brand’s mission to be the ‘Feel Good’ underwear brand that celebrates diversity and inclusivity of all kinds of people and body types.
FINALIST: BRUCE J. GIFFORD, NAKEDCASHMERE
Bruce Gifford recently (August of last year) announced the launch of his newest business NAKEDCASHMERE. The brand will be the first luxury brand to sell direct to Consumer.
Gifford and his team have chosen Kate Moss as the face of the brand and had her photographed by the legendary Peter Lindbergh on the quiet beach near Normandy, France.
Cashmere is the story of Leslie and Bruce Gifford who share a passion for the product and the industry that surrounds it. Bruce brings four generations of knowledge about global sourcing and fashion marketing. Bruce began his executive career as a menswear buyer at Denver Dry Goods; soon after that he joined his father’s N.Y. sportswear company, which was sold to Hart Schaffner & Marx. He remained, as manager, for 5 years when he and his wife moved to L.A. in 1987. In 2006 he sold his successful sweater company, SWEATER.COM, to Hartmarx. In 2009, the family created 360Cashmere as a new contemporary knitwear brand.