How we Work

We are a body of designers, textile artists, painters, photographers, poets, and seamstresses inspired by the collective potential of ideas and practices, working toward a circular future for the materials we use. We believe in the communal power of change, and that the contributions we make together—in our approaches to learning, sharing, and making—are stronger than those we make independently. We are dedicated to experimenting and creating in the gray spaces between art and design, nature and technology, commerce and creativity.


Who we are

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sigi ahl

Sigi Ahl is an artist and author based in New York. As a collaborator with EILEEN FISHER since the early days of the company, she helped found EILEEN FISHER’s recycle program in 2009 and went on to establish DesignWork as an extension of that endeavor. Ahl has had solo exhibitions in the US and Germany, as well as written and illustrated several children’s books, one of which was nominated for the German Children’s Literature Award. Her paintings and graphic works are in public collections including f.e. Rhineland-Palatinian Museum, Mainz; Museum for Contemporary Art, Cuxhaven; Marilie Hess-Foundation, Frankfurt; and the City of Frankfurt. Ahl received a Diploma in Visual Communication at Offenbach College of Applied Arts, and a Master’s Degree at the Frankfurt Academy of Fine Arts, Städel.

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Salem van der swaagh

Salem Van Der Swaagh is the textile and product designer for DesignWork. After graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2005 with a degree in textile design, Salem went on to obtain a second degree in sustainable product design from the Design Academy Eindhoven in The Netherlands. From there she has worked for the last decade as an expert textile designer and color specialist for a wide variety of European clients and design studios, including the JongeriusLab, Vitra, and Kvadrat. Her focus has been on woven developments as well as coloring for a wide variety of materials. Previously based in Berlin, Germany, she has worked in the field of ecological textile design and coloring for both product and interior, including establishing her own brand of sustainably woven interior products in 2015.

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eileen fisher

Eileen is the Founder and Chairwoman of EILEEN FISHER, INC., the design company known for creating simple, timeless garments for over 30 years. Eileen ventured into clothing design in 1984. Her original concept—pieces that work together to help women get dressed easily—still defines the company’s collections, which are sold at 65 EILEEN FISHER stores, over 300 department and specialty stores across the US, UK and Canada as well as 2 Renew stores, which are part of the company’s innovative recycling program. In 2016, the company became one of the largest women’s fashion companies to be certified a B Corporation which voluntarily meets high criteria for social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency. In addition, the company is the largest B Corp in the state of New York.

Eileen is passionate about business as a movement. In spring 2015, the company announced VISION2020, a bold five-year plan that addresses sustainability and human rights. In keeping with Eileen’s belief in collaboration, VISION2020 calls for partnering with other brands to shift the fashion industry.

Given Eileen’s commitment to the development and growth of the whole person, she launched LIFEWORK—a personal transformation initiative that invites participants to explore individual purpose, well-being and conscious leadership through a variety of online and in-person workshops and events.  

In 2017, Parsons New School of Design honored Eileen at their annual gala for her work in sustainability.  Eileen was selected to join the Steering Committee for New York State’s Inaugural Council on Women and Girls—launched by Governor Andrew Cuomo, the committee was formed to ensure that government policies and programs protect women’s rights and equality advancement in the state. In 2016, Eileen was presented the Force for Good Award by the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP).