The North Face REMADE: wear your values on your sleeves

Article cited from Fast Company, by Adele Peters

America’s outdoor recreation products company The North Face’s Renewed line consists of upcycled coats and bags, each stitched together from multiple parts of the company’s used and returned garments. 

“We’re trying to make use of damaged stuff to repair other damaged items in creative ways,” says Kellen Hennessy, a product designer for The North Face. The newest upcycled collection, focused on the brand’s classic puffy Nuptse jacket, is the latest in a series of products that the company sells under a line called Remade. Each of the items is unique and recognizably different from the standard product line, like a purple jacket with a single pink sleeve.

In addition to improving the durability of their products, the company started the Remade projects as they saw an opportunity to begin upcycling parts of clothing that couldn’t be easily repaired. The North Face now now releases around 50 items every couple of months and looking for ways to scale up the program. “The biggest challenge is how to make upcycling efficient,” Hennessy says.

“The ideal situation is to extend the life of the garment as long as possible. Those resources have been made: How can we maximize them? Taking usable pieces and components from existing garments and putting them together to extend their collective life is ultimately the lowest-impact solution.”

It’s also something that customers want, Hennessy says. “They’re visually interesting and eye-catching. I think it’s a way that people can kind of wear their values on their sleeves, so to speak.”


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