Eileen Fisher Helped Pave The Way For The Sustainable Fashion Industry
Eileen Fisher Renew
How Selling Her Own Clothes Started A Non-Profit Turned Recycled Fashion Business
Photograph by Charlotte Maxwell Clinic
WHO IS EILEEN FISHER?
When we think of timeless, universally designed, and high-quality garments that are sustainable and readily accessible, Eileen Fisher is the first brand that often comes to mind. Fisher started her business with $350 to her name and a sewing machine in her loft apartment in Tribeca. In 2009, Fisher’s assistant and now Co-Creator, Cheryl Campbell, suggested that she sell her personal clothes to raise money for the Eileen Fisher Leader Institute, which is a youth program that promotes leadership through self-empowerment. Selling her clothes became so successful that the company bought Green Eileen that later developed her Renew, “a take-back and reuse program that preserves the value of [their] clothes at every stage, in any condition.”
EILEEN FISHER RENEW - Behind The Scenes
Three days ago, I had the opportunity to tour the Eileen Fisher Renew Warehouse located in Sodo District, not too far from the Renew Store in Rainier Beach area of Seattle. The Warehouse houses and reproduces previously owned Eileen Fisher clothes, regardless of it’s condition, that are sorted, repaired, and/or renewed into a new garment. The company believes in taking responsibility of their environmental (and social) impact in the fashion industry, the second largest pollution industry.
“We’ve just scratched the surface of receiving maybe 1% of our clothes back. There’s so much more that needs to be done.” - Annie (Recycling Center Operations Lead)
The Renew Warehouse has 3 systems to categorize each item from good condition, minor flaws, and essentially scraps. But nearly every item gets used to some capacity. Yards of fabric is sold (extremely discounted) to local designers. Several racks are filled with pants, which they love because those are the largest stretch of fabric that can be reconstructed. Y’all, they turned silk black tailored pants into a sheer kimono that can be worn over turtlenecks.
I love a good bargain and companies that care about their employees on every level but I honestly didn’t focus on environmental sustainability until I met Cat a few years ago. I learned about the Fashion Industry’s environmental impact through my friend, Cat from the Restitchstance. She’s really shifted my perspective to research all fashion brands that are not only inclusive with people but are actively working to reduce their environmental footprint.
MY TOP FALL PICKS UNDER $200
QUICK REVIEW: AFFORDABILITY, ACCESSIBILITY, AND STYLE
Now that I’m older, I understand the Cost-Per-Wear formula and money saving tips to afford the things I need. I appreciate that Eileen Fisher Renew is essentially “sustainable thrifting” with fair pricing that you can shop in-store and online. Did I mention that there is FREE shipping?! You all know that I am a sucker for coats and the most expensive jacket on the website is this gorgeous neutral/beige one that I love $125 (here) or this cropped, deep forrest-green wool coat for $105 (here). I’m hoping to snag this one at the Seattle sale (see below for details!). Overall, their prices are really fair and quite “affordable” (if you #ShopSlowly) for ethical and sustainable fashion.
Overall, I believe the Eileen Fisher Renew is a great option to buy ethically and sustainably if you value body-inclusivity, timeless minimal style, voting with your dollars, and lowering your carbon footprint.
On Friday, October 19, 2018, is the first day of the sale. If you want the BEST items then they recommend coming this day. Also, on Saturday, October 20, 2018, is the insane $10 a day sale. This will be located at 624 S Lander Suite 20, Seattle, WA 98134 on the corner of 6th and Lander St. Mark your calendars babes!
*Special thank you to Annie and Team for providing an informative tour and the opportunity to see the behind-the-scenes!*
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