Just in time for Earth Day, The North Face has announced the launch of a new line, "Remade," that champions the environmental benefits (not to mention style points) of repaired, upcycled garments. A result of the company's inaugural Renewed Design Residency—"a workshop dedicated to training The North Face design team on the principles of sustainable design"—the Remade collection features returned, damaged, or defective North Face garments given new life by the brand's innovative design team.
"This has been a mind-opening experience," North Face senior designer Kellen Hennessy told SNEWS. "Designers are problem solvers and this is like the ultimate test. You have limited materials to start with—all different, sizes, colors, and fabrics. Navigating how to make the repairs is like a puzzle."
One of the big challenges in creating the collection, Hennessy said, was managing communication between her team and the sewers who actually made the repairs. To streamline the process, her designers identified five categories of repair used to classify each defective item: down panel repairs, general patches, snap repairs, zipper repairs, and piecing—or disassembling two identical damaged items to create a new garment from their parts.
"For me, this was a career-changing and life-changing experience," Hennessy said. "To see the amount of product that comes back with damages gives you a good perspective on waste, and then thinking creatively about repurposing those items—it's just not an opportunity you get very often."
For now, the pieces in the Remade line will live as part of a static collection, but Hennessy said she hopes The North Face will move toward a "continuum" model in which new repurposed garments are added to the brand's offerings on a rolling basis.
You can check out the full collection, which includes dozens of items selling for $50 to $400, here.