Eileen Fisher: The First Sustainable Brand & More...
The First Sustainable Brand & More...
1. We love that EILEEN FISHER is sustainable fashion, how did Eileen start this process?
We often describe our work as “business as a movement.” Our business is an opportunity to be more mindful about how we produce clothing: looking at every fiber and production method to see how we can make it better. Our goal is simple: design without negative impact right from the start. We want to make sustainability our way of life — we want it to be universal.
When the collection started, there was always an emphasis on using natural fibers. Vision2020 was the result of a supply chain trip that Eileen herself took in 2012. During that trip, EILEEN FISHER as a company became viscerally aware of the global water crisis and implications not only for sourcing the fibers for its clothing, but also for the future of the business. That revelation turned into a company-wide commitment to bold environmental and social goals for internal product and practices. The importance in investing in environmentally responsible fashion in the broadest sense is to preserve the future of this planet for future generations. EILEEN FISHER is proud that its goals are coming to fruition: for Fall 2018, 96% of our cotton is organic, and 92% of our linen is organic.
2. I know EILEEN FISHER headquarters is based in New York, are her clothing manufactured in the USA as well? How did this develop?
There are two main offices – one in New York City, one in Irvington, NY. Our distribution center is located in Secaucus, NJ. The company has a global production and supply chain, roughly 30 percent of which is in the USA. The company is committed to create a truly responsible supply chain that adheres to the highest possible standards when assessing sustainability and labor conditions. As evidence of putting the brand’s values into practice, the company is part of 80 coalitions pertaining to social consciousness and environmental protection.
3. Jejune Magazine loves your Renew Program, which is to buy back clothing donations from customers and EILEEN FISHER either finds a home for them by reselling or turns them into new designs. Has this been successful?
This is an area that I am incredibly passionate about. Renew is the embodiment of our commitment to circularity Renew harnesses innovation — when our clothes can’t be reworn, they can be remade to start their journey all over again. It has been thrilling to see pieces that we buy back from customers that were from the very first collections we produced — and they remain relevant in design today.
Resewn garments are made from deconstructed EILEEN FISHER clothes. We cut away any damaged parts and turn the remaining fabric into new designs at our Tiny Factory in Irvington, NY. Our design team uses various creative methods to reconstruct garments: felted, overdyed, or resewn, each piece is engineered to minimize waste by using as much of the recycled clothing as possible. Tiny Factory has sparked the interest of both up-and-coming designers and major clothing brands in the industry, and our Spring 2018 Resewn capsule sold-out in record time.
To date, EILEEN FISHER has taken back over 1 million garments and sold over $10 million in Renew clothing. A portion of the profits from gently worn clothes goes to programs that support positive change for women, girls and the environment.
4. EILEEN FISHER Leadership Institute, is a program to help women develop their voice, and confidence. I love this concept, I went to Simmons College, which is an all women’s college, and I feel it was aligned with this momentum that EILEEN FISHER represents. In fact, EILEEN FISHER sponsored an event for alums years ago in NYC that I attended through Simmons College. Please tell me more about the Leadership Institute?
Since the beginning, I have always wanted to find ways in which to give back to organizations that support women and girls. We have given more than $4 million to support leadership programs for women and girls, women-owned businesses and local communities.
The program has expanded to include daylong and week-long workshops for teachers and community leaders of all ages and backgrounds. Ultimately, EFLI encourages its participants to cultivate their own philosophies of success. We have started to include national programming options for those that may not live in the tri-state area so that more and more girls can be involved.
5. Is she teaming up with anyone new this year or focusing on on-going projects? Are there any projects she would like to highlight?
In Spring 2018, Renew partnered with brands that share our core values via Pop-Up installations, which offered select products from the take-back program. Reformation in Los Angeles and the Hackwith Design House in Minnesota were among the various venues that co-hosted the Renew Pop-Ups. We believe that only when the entire industry adopts sustainability practices can true change happen for the planet and well- being of our communities.
6. For more on EILEEN FISHER please check her out here:
Produced by Alison Hernon, Fashion Director, Jejune Magazine
*All photography is sourced from the EILEEN FISHER team.