Eileen Fisher has dedicated her career to challenging the ways of the fashion industry. In 2015 with Vision2020, the company took a bold step in reaching its ambitious environmental and social goals. DesignWork is the company’s latest initiative; a creative exchange between makers who felt and stitch consumers’ used garments into beautiful and unique wall hangings, upholstery and accessories for interiors, hospitality and public space. The zero-waste works have been developed by longtime collaborator and artist Sigi Ahl, in partnership with a team at Eileen Fisher’s sorting and recycling facility in Irvington, New York. DesignWork is being displayed internationally for the first time at the 2018 Salone del Mobile in Milan and is curated by Lidewij Edelkoort and Philip Fimmano.
Fisher notes how “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? Roughly 85% becomes waste in a landfill — including many of the items donated to charity.”
Edelkoort, observes how DesignWork blurs the boundaries between design, textiles and activism, fueling a new creative momentum for the company, calling it “A lifestyle brand found in the debris of overconsumption. When waste becomes wealth and culture, the circle has come around twice, empowering new ventures, gifting the world with true beauty.” Fisher expands upon how fashion’s modus operandi can be disrupted by providing renewable solutions: “What is new is how we’re scaling our systems to create a truly sustainable business model that’s circular by design.”
Images courtesy Eileen Fisher DesignWork.