In an industry plagued by waste, Taylor Stitch tries to do better. The San Francisco-based brand, whose website includes a “Responsibility Journey” with a five-point pledge aimed at curbing their environmental impact, introduces new clothing through a crowdfunded “workshop” model that cuts back on excess waste.
But the casual-classic label recently found itself burdened by a surplus of two staple styles: its Jack oxford shirt in white and blue and cotton chinos in British khaki, navy and olive. Doing the easy thing—simply dumping the excess wares—would go against the third tenet of their Responsibility Journey: “closing the loop.”
“We want to do everything we can to make sure that our clothing stays out of the landfill,” Taylor Stitch senior brand director Luke McAlpine tells Robb Report. “That’s one of the biggest problems in the industry overall: just the sheer amount of overproduction that takes place.”
Instead, Taylor Stitch has partnered with Atelier & Repairs, an LA-based maker that creates new garments using reclaimed fabric. By accenting the existing Taylor Stitch clothing with deadstock fabrics pulled from Atelier & Repairs’ considerable archives, the two brands were able to launch a capsule collection without actually making anything new.
“If this stuff is already produced, how do we use it?” McAlpine says, adding that the idea was to “change the context or re-imagine” the brand’s existing overstock.
The vintage fabrics—which Atelier & Repairs founder Maurizio Donadi estimates to be from the 70s and 80s—have been utilized in the oxfords and chinos in different ways. The white oxford has had a khaki fabric applied to its pocket and is trimmed with a U.S. Army woodlands camouflage that has also been used for its locker loop. The same khaki fabric has been used to trim the blue oxford, which also features a quilt-like paisley patchwork at its pocket.
While the shirts have been strategically accented, the chinos have more of a patchwork feel. Each colorway has received tonal patches of vintage fabric, with the olive burnished by the same camouflage used to trim the white oxford.
In addition to embellishing the shirts and chinos, Atelier & Repairs worked its magic to give the upcycled garments time-worn patina. “[Maurizio] washed them down, so they already have this super broken-in feel that feels vintage, like you’ve been wearing them for ten years,” McAlpine says.
Though the fabric runs used by Atelier & Repairs in the project are small—Donadi says that, in some cases, he had only a few yards to work with—their application is uniform across the styles in the collection. But due to the fabrics’ varying nature and their hand-sewn application, no two garments will be precisely alike.
“It’s not mass production at all,” Donadi says of his workshop’s process. “It’s very small, and it’s very much about our relationship with every single piece.”
The collection, which debuts on July 29 on Taylor Stitch’s website, is available for pre-order now with an expected shipping date of early October. While Taylor Stitch typically uses the pre-order process to determine how many products will be made, in this case it allows buyers to reserve their product ahead of time: only 75 units of each colorway will be made.
Creating new clothing with vintage fabrics has become increasingly popular in recent years, and laid the foundations for brands like Bode and Kiriko, who share Atelier & Repair’s waste-reducing ethos. But in Donadi’s telling, popularity isn’t the point.
“We’re not doing customization because it’s trendy,” he says. “We’re doing customization because we are aware of the enormous amount of leftover materials and obsolete stock that exists in the world.”