Search for “textile waste” and you’ll find a jaw-dropping array of statistics. Clothing is being produced and discarded at an alarming rate, generating millions of pounds of textile waste that sits (and rots) in landfills.
A brand that tackles textile waste head-on is Eileen Fisher renew, Eileen Fisher’s trade-in and resale program. Renew buys back items that customers no longer wear, giving them new life – the clothes are either sold to a new customer or recycled into a new product.
The slogan used at Renew is: “We are saving the world, one garment at a time”.
Lilah Horwitz, director of marketing and content at Renew, said while issues like overconsumption and environmental waste are overwhelming, there can be joy in taking small individual steps to make an impact.
Horwitz explained that Renew’s goal is “to try to give clothes as much clothes as possible.” When customers return used Eileen Fisher clothing to Renew, the clothing goes through a three-tier system and is either:
- Cleaned and resold (if the item is in perfect condition)
- Sold at a warehouse sale (if the item has slight defects)
- Upcycled or recycled into new products (if the item cannot be resold as is)
As Senior Store Manager Megan Arnaud said, the goal is for Eileen Fisher’s products to be circular – “an endless loop of resources.”
Since its inception, Renew has received approximately 2 million pre-liked garments. What’s special about their take-back program is that they accept items in any condition. Eileen Fisher claims responsibility for their products “throughout their life cycle,” Horwitz said.
Clothes that land in the third category of the three-tier system, no longer able to be worn as clothes, find new life in a different form. In their “Waste No More” program, items undergo an industrialized felting process. These felted materials are then sewn into household items or other accessories.
These third category garments can also be part of a special collection. For example, in partnership with local nonprofit, Refugee Artisan Initiative (RAI), Renew recently created a collection of repaired sweaters. RAI artisans have created visible repairs on slightly damaged jerseys, producing beautiful, unique, upcycled items for resale.
MORE: Refugee Artisan Initiative trains and empowers refugee women to succeed
The bottom line? Everything is re-used, reused or repurposed.
While shopping at Renew, Arnaud said there is something for everyone. Case in point? She’s seen several generations come shopping together, and everyone walks away with a new item for their wardrobe. With staff members helping and educating, customers enjoy an “enhanced pre-owned experience” when they pick up their next item that’s new to them.
Shopping at Renew is “a really accessible way to have a sustainable wardrobe,” Horwitz said. The circularity of Renew’s model is about as sustainable as it gets. By buying timeless, high-quality, pre-loved items that will last a long time in your wardrobe (and have another life after you don’t want them anymore), you ensure that resources are put to good use rather than thrown in the landfill.
So head to Columbia City, or visit the online storeto start your sustainable shopping journey with Eileen Fisher Renew.
Eileen Fisher Renew is located at 4860 Rainier Ave S, Seattle, WA 98118