reformation toronto

The fitting rooms at Reformation's new high-tech Toronto store feel like magic

With the release of 1995's now-cult classic teen comedy Clueless, Paramount Pictures and Amy Heckerling introduced the world to some of modern society's most-enduring pop cultural forces; from Paul Rudd (it was his big screen debut) to the yellow plaid skirt suit (forever iconic) to the concept of a "full-on Monet" (ie; when someone is a lot more attractive from far away than up close.)

Nothing from the memorable film-turned-franchise has impacted the sartorial fantasies of women today, however, as much as Cher's Closet — a two-word phrase that's guaranteed to inspire wistful, starry-eyed ravings when uttered around anyone who loves clothes.

Spoiler: I love clothes. I really, really love clothes.

Nearly 30 years have passed since Clueless hit theatres, and nobody — despite the efforts of some app developers and ambitious YouTubers — has even come close to recreating the coveted high-tech wardrobe used by the film's main character, a Beverly Hills princess with a heart of gold as portrayed to perfection by Alicia Silverstone.
reformation yorkville

The interactive, roboticized closet owned by Beverly Hills princess Cher Horowitz in the 1995 hit film Clueless has now inspired wardrobe envy for decades. Image courtesy of Paramount Pictures.

If you happen to be an engineer with the skills and resources to build a robotic, computer-controlled, AI-enabled closet at mainstream scale for normal consumer budgets, I promise that you could make a mint off of this thing.

Until that happens, we the people who don't have our own wardrobes with paper doll-style digital interfaces can now at least shop kind of like Cher lives (minus daddy's credit card, in most cases.)

Los Angeles-born women's fashion brand Reformation recently opened its first-ever Canadian flagship store at 87 Yorkville Ave. in Toronto, bringing with it a shopping experience unlike anything seen in this country before.

reformation yorkvilleNot to be confused with its Yorkdale outpost, this standalone brick-and-mortar Ref is the first in downtown Toronto, and the first of its kind almost anywhere.

reformation canadaReformation is known (among other things) for its flirty, form-fitting cuts and a serious focus on sustainability. Every single piece of furniture in the new store was sourced locally, according to staff, from antique and second-hand markets.

reformation canadaFounded as a vintage boutique in 2009, the brand now produces 100% original clothing for its dozens of stores in California, New York, Texas, The U.K., and a handful of other U.S. states. It's big among celebrities.

reformation canadaOnly two Reformation stores exist in Canada, both of them in Toronto.

The newest opened in December and is the second-largest in the world for the brand. It has been consistently busy, according to staff, who note that people literally line up on weekends just to go in and try stuff on.

Shoppers can put their numbers on a waitlist, and then receive a text when a fitting room opens for them. Like a restaurant, it's usually about an hour-long wait on weekends.

reformation canadaAfter trying some of said stuff on at the new Yorkville Reformation, I can kind of understand why. The customizable lighting alone is way better than like, Shake Shack or whatever

reformation canadaReformation is using what it calls "Retail X technology" to let customers "seamlessly send clothes directly from touchscreens to fitting rooms with magic wardrobes, allowing for product fulfillment and checkout within the privacy of a fitting room and limited interaction with others."

reformation canada

The first part of the shopping experience can work in a few ways.

First off, you can go up to one of many large touch-screen interfaces around the store and browse for what you like. If you want to try something on, select your size and add it to your shopping cart/change room.

reformation canadaYou can add up to 20 pieces at a time, and you can bet that I added 20 right off the bat.

reformation canadaConversely, you can walk around the store and look at all of the beautiful, limited-run garments and ask a sales associate to scan the tag of anything you love. It'll go to your room.

You can add more things yourself with any digital screen at any time as well if you want to.

reformation canadaFrom this point, an order is sent to what is effectively the store's back-of-house, where lightning-fast staffers pull stock to build out the wardrobe of your dreams.

reformation canadaIt takes 3 to 5 minutes on average for your magic closet to populate.

reformation canadaWhen the back doors are open, the fitting room's inner closet doors are locked. Both cannot be opened at the same time.

reformation canadaIf you didn't pick out any shoes to try on with your fit, the rooms have an assortment of neutral flats and heels to borrow.

reformation canadaIf you need a different size or want to try something else on while you're in the room, you can order it to your closet on a little iPad.

toronto ref"The tech-driven retail concept will allow shoppers to have a virtual meets physical experience while shopping in-store.

"Touch screens throughout will allow customers to seamlessly send clothes from the store's in-stock collection, in their desired colour and size, to a 'magic wardrobe' inside a high-tech dressing room," wrote Reformation when announcing its new store late in 2022.

"Personal touch screens in each dressing room will allow customers to order alternative sizes and styles to their 'magic wardrobe' without ever having to leave. Customized lighting options will also allow customers to select the light they feel the best in."

reformation yorkvilleWe (me, staff photographer Fareen and social video reporter Tiana) all had a blast trying on clothes in an environment that was chic, glam and classy, but still fun and welcoming.

reformation canada

The clothes at Reformation are sick, there's no doubting that, but they can skew a bit pricey (all three of us would have bought these exact pants if they weren't $250).

reformation canadaI bought an $83 cropped t-shirt because it was really really cute and I was in a great mood. That's the power of a nice shopping environment, I suppose.

reformation canadaIf you're in the market for some really solid sustainable basics that fit like a dream or a seriously pretty dress for a special occasion, I'd definitely recommend heading to Yorkville (to this store, at least).

There are few things I hate more than the process of shopping for clothes inside a busy, overheated mall, sweating in my parka while hauling around everything I'd like to try on until my arms go numb and I'm forced to drop the whole heap of heavy garments on tangled hangers into some dusty change room.

This new Retail X model is like a virtual cart that requires zero upper body strength to carry, paired with the convenience of being able to try things on instantly, never having to worry about mailing back items that don't fit or are (surprise!) totally see-through.

reformation canadaEat your heart out, 1995. Can somebody remake Clueless with a Cher Horowitz closet for the digital age? I'd love to see what they come up with now.

Photos by

Fareen Karim

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