Allison and Peggy wrote two pieces for The Washington Post about textile waste, and what two forward-looking clothing companies, Patagonia and Eileen Fisher, are doing to repair, re-use and recycle their clothing. Here are examples of Eileen Fisher’s Renew products, made from previously worn garments from its fashion line.
In researching the articles, Allison visited Patagonia’s huge repair and renew facility in Reno, NV, and Peggy visited Eileen Fisher’s Renew facility in Irvington, NY. (The company has a second Renew facility in Seattle.)
Here are some images we took on our visits. At Patagonia’s Reno facility:
The repair area, where 70 employees repair Patagonia items sent in by customers or turned in at retail stores. Some items the company receives date to the late 1970s.
Broken zipper sliders are the most common repair (about 30,000 a year), and the facility has long rows of replacement zippers in various lengths and colors. The company developed a tool to more quickly remove an old zipper (below right).
Extra bolts of fabric from Patagonia’s garment assembly are stored to be used in repairs.
In addition to yardage, Patagonia maintains a “boneyard” of garments that can be used to snip pieces for patching.
Renewing used items includes cleaning. The down jacket, left, shows before and after cleaning. Tennis balls are added to the commercial dryers to help restore the down’s loft. At right, a bag made from re-purposed garments.
Stacy Weaver, the company’s Worn Wear operations supervisor, stands by sorted items returned by customers for Patagonia’s trade-in program.
Letters are posted from customers delighted with their repaired and renewed items.
At Eileen Fisher’s Renew facility in Irvington, NY:
The building itself is a re-use. The building once housed a magazine warehouse. At right, there is a warehouse store of reworked Renew garments.
Left, since 2009, the Eileen Fisher Tiny Factory in Irvington, NY, has collected more than a million previously worn Eileen Fisher garments. At right, bought-back clothing is sorted by color and fabric and arranged on shelves for designers and sewers to use for new clothing and home accessories.
The 2019 Renew line is underway in the cutting area.
Reworked clothing is sold in a boutique within the Renew factory. At right, designers try a multitude of create uses for bought-back Eileen Fisher garments.
Pillows made from former Eileen Fisher clothing that’s been felted into new fabric, are sold at ABC Home and other outlets. At right, wall hangings, rugs and kimono jackets are made from former Eileen Fisher garments.
Designers are looking at new ways to use felted fabric created from used clothing. At right, unique floor coverings are one use for used Eileen Fisher garments.