Eileen Fisher's experimental design studio - Waste No More
About Eileen Fisher:
Eileen Fisher, a women's wear brand that has been a leader in sustainable fashion, constantly challenges the norms of what fashion brands are conventionally known for. Their approach towards clothing encompasses key values like being ethical, timeless, creating clothes that are well made and designed to last long.
Eileen Fisher has been creating clothing for over 30 years, selling through 65 Eileen Fisher retail stores and over 1,000 department stores internationally. They are one of the largest women’s fashion companies to be a certified B corporation, voluntarily meeting high criteria for social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency.
In 2009, Eileen Fisher started a take-back program, Renew, a part of a circular system designed to preserve the value of their clothes at every stage, in any condition. They realised that a lot of their beautifully designed pieces were being discarded into landfills at the end of their lifecycle. In order to preserve and extend their life, they decided to offer their customers the service to give Eileen Fisher designs back to them instead of discarding them. Since the launch of this service, they have collected over 1.2 million garments, which are sold at two of their Renew outlets as vintage Eileen Fisher pieces. The pieces that are not in a condition to be sold, become raw materials for their latest experimental art project, Waste No More.
(Photo Credit - Bone & Black)
“Textiles and apparel have a huge environmental impact — and our industry’s current model is unsustainable. We’re using up natural resources faster than they can be renewed. We’re making more and more stuff. And after each season, we toss out the old and move onto what’s next. Where does this mountain of used and unsold clothes go? We want to create an industry that actually helps restore the planet. For us, it all starts with taking responsibility for what we make — and where it ends up. We believe the future is circular.” – Eileen Fisher
With this vision, Eileen Fisher launched Waste No More - an experimental design studio based in Irvington, New York that has created a circular system designed to upend the conventional cycle of consumerism by creating upcycled art out of post consumer waste.
About Waste No More:
Waste No More is a collective that works at the intersection of creativity, sustainability and architecture, and is concerned with the beauty of the discarded and the potential of the repurposed. These works come from individuals, collaborations, and partnerships between humans and technology; they become works for homes, hospitality and public space. It aims to open up the apparel industry to alternative business models in multiple sectors; rethinking the traditional roles of materials and rerouting familiar supply chains into surprising new systems.
Led by Creative Director Sigi Ahl, the studio transforms damaged clothes into one-of-a-kind artworks, pillows, wall hangings and accessories using a custom felting technique that requires no water or dyes. It’s an ambitious experiment, rooted in a deep appreciation for the value of renewable materials - one that takes an artisanal approach to craft and technology. Sigi Ahl has been a collaborator with Eileen fisher since the early days of the company, she helped found Eileen Fisher’s recycle program in 2009 and went on to establish Waste No More as an extension of that endeavour.
In 2017, Waste No More exhibited in the Lower East Side of Manhattan and at the Invisible Dog Art Center in Brooklyn during New York Textile Month, and at the Textielmuseum in Tilburg as part of Earth Matters, a touring sustainable materials exhibition. Waste No More was presented at Ventura Centrale’s tunnels as part of the 2018 Salone del Mobile. Its artworks are included in private collections in Europe and the United States.
April 4 – 7, 2019, New York
Eileen Fisher redesigned their Cobble Hill store in New York to reinforce the brand’s ethos of essential choices, as well as to showcase the Waste No More garments and interior products. In addition, the public was also invited to bring a piece of clothing to the store to create a personalised upcycled artwork during the exhibition dates.
(Brooklyn Store; Photo Credit- Bone & Black)
April 9 – 14, 2019, Milan | Salone Del Mobile
Waste No More presented new works at Rossana Orlandi, where a vaulted courtyard building was converted into a spiritual space filled with white. Curated by Lidewij Edelkoort and Philip Fimmano, this quiet sanctuary was a calm respite from the Salone. Inspired by a “less is more” philosophy, when simplicity and clarity lead to thoughtful design, the meditative installation confronts overconsumption while unveiling the many shades of white, a multitude of which were discovered during the felt-making process.
Waste No More’s creative director Sigi Ahl has been experimenting for several years with the abstraction of white at the collective’s Irvington design studio and recycling factory. The works that have been created for Milan reveal the white’s emotional depth and fine nuances, from the saturation of bright white to the warmth of ècru and the cooler side of grey – even including unexpected faint pinks and dark whites. Ahl’s team has scoured thousands of bought-back Eileen Fisher garments to begin the meticulous process of layering material scraps to compose the new fabric and artworks. These previously discarded fibers include white linen, organic cotton, cashmere and wool, as well as silks that shine with more intensity, creating a stunning series of white camouflages.
(Milan Exhibit; Photo Credit - Ruy Teixeira)
You can check their Website here.
You can find them on Instagram here.
Cover Photo Credit- Bone & Black
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