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Reformation Founder Steps Down After Accusations of Racism

Reformation founder Yael Aflalo is handing over the reins of her company, effectively immediately.

Following accusations of racism, Aflalo, who launched the brand in 2009, is stepping down from her role as chief executive, and current president Hali Borenstein will serve as her replacement.

“I am resigning as CEO effective immediately,” Aflalo said in a statement that surfaced on Reformation’s website Friday. “Over the past few years it has become clear to me that I am not the right person to lead a business of Reformation’s size and scope. On a personal note, I have long struggled with the public facing nature of my role and with managing our team. It is time for a change.”

The news follows a former employee’s claims of experiencing racism at the company—and from Aflalo in particular—and charges that the brand rarely features black models in its promotions.

Aflalo attempted to address the accusations in a lengthy Instagram post earlier this week, which began: “I’ve failed.”

It went on to say, “When former team members make accusations that I ignored them in the past, I know that this is true. I am so sad and regretful for it. This is inexcusable in itself, but when I hear Black colleagues who felt that I avoided them because of the color of their skin, I burn inside thinking about the sadness I inflicted. Please know that for me this was not about the color of your skin, it’s about my shortcomings as a person.”

Addressing the comments and allegations of racism, Aflalo said, “we realized how ignorant we are and how much we need to improve to become an ally and actively anti-racist brand.”

The now-former chief executive said Reformation will update is quarterly sustainability report to include goals and metrics on diversity and inclusion, “put more emphasis on working with Black creators throughout the creative process,” and strive to feature more “authentic diversity” in its imagery and branding.

The current climate and racial tensions in the country have seen several major companies called to task over charges of racism in the past week, including Adidas, and leaders across industries are relinquishing their roles amid increasing pressure to address inclusion.