In 2009, a young American designer named Yael Aflalo went to China on a sourcing trip for her fashion line, Reformation. At the time, Reformation had two stores, one in Los Angeles and one in New York, stocking mostly refurbished vintage clothes. The business was modest but stable.
On arriving in China, Aflalo was horrified by the pollution. “I went to a part of China where 80 percent of what they produce is fashion, and the pollution was on a level hard to ignore. An LA native, I’d been aware of environmental issues, but seeing it first hand, I became intimately aware of my part in the process as a designer and consumer of fashion,” she said.
Aflalo returned to the United States and completely ...