A new line of bags at the fashion label Eileen Fisher features an abstract pattern that looks as though it has been painted on with brushstrokes. You’d never know that each design is painstakingly made from scraps of fabric culled from customers’ old jeans and sweaters.
The bags are the latest product to come out of Tiny Factory, Eileen Fisher’s workshop in upstate New York devoted to transforming clothing waste into beautiful new things. Since 2009, the company has collected 1.5 million pieces of clothing from customers, who bring them into stores. Eighty percent of these garments are repaired with the help of a company called Trove, then resold in Eileen Fisher’s online and physical stores. But the designers and artisans at Tiny Factory have been on a mission to find a use for the remaining clothes, which are damaged beyond repair.