The company on Thursday officially began selling shoes, offering its customers a collection of 11 styles with an opening price point of $128. The assortment includes strappy sandals, heels, flats and espadrilles, which the company said were inspired by the Nineties.
“The goal of Ref is to bring sustainable fashion to everyone in all different types of categories, and every year we try to move into one or two categories,” said founder and chief executive officer Yael Aflalo. “We really felt that shoes was the right move. It’s the number-one requested thing from our customers and it also gives us a really good opportunity to shine from a sustainability perspective.”
The footwear release is not a one-off, with the plan to build to monthly releases and then eventually follow a drop cadence in line with the apparel, which is refreshed weekly.
True to the company’s focus on sustainability, the sourcing team sought out green leather options and did research into components for the soles and insoles. The collection utilizes chrome-free leather and jute. The company also went through a process to find the right factory partners that met its manufacturing standards, Aflalo said, ultimately selecting partners based in China. All told, Reformation said its shoes save an average of 52 percent on carbon emissions, 70 percent water and 65 percent waste when put up against other shoes sold in the U.S.
Reformation has dabbled with footwear in the past, testing consumer appetite for it with third-party brands. The company set up a wait list for the shoes prior to launch with thousands of people placing themselves on the list, according to Aflalo.
The ceo declined to discuss any other planned category expansions.
WWD reported Tuesday that Reformation is said to have hired Goldman Sachs to solicit buyers for the company, citing multiple sources.
A Reformation spokeswoman said Wednesday the company would not comment on the matter when Aflalo was asked if selling the business was up for consideration. “We’re just not commenting on speculation. It’s pure speculation,” the spokeswoman said.