Eileen Fisher

Tonie Ong

Fashion is often criticized for their unsustainable practices to manufacturing their products. Their harm to animals to create leather goods to making use of exotic and rare plants for their fabrics. It’s one of the main problems of the industry that hasn’t been responded to as much as it should have been. As a result, many people see fashion as a disagreeable field. However, there are designers who’ve made it their life’s mission to protect the integrity of fashion while taking care of the environment at the same time. They aim to prove that sustainability and style need not be mutually exclusive. One of them is Eileen Fisher.

From eco-friendly fabrications to sustainable practices and business operations. Eileen Fisher’s brand is all about helping Mother Nature. They see that the frivolity of fashion has gotten too much and it’s time for certain brands to step up and be that message of hope for the earth. To this day, she is one of only a handful of designers who’ve made it their responsibility to make fashion more environment-friendly, creating her refined and minimalist look with a sustainable design process. Because of such, her clothes have become some of the most revered pieces in the market. People have come to appreciate great style with an even greater story and purpose behind them.

How It All Started

The designer was born on June 6, 1950, in Des Plaines, Illinois. Because of financial difficulties, her family couldn’t afford to send her to college, so she worked as a waitress to fund her higher education. She then studied math as her major but got interested in interior design because her college roommate studied the field. After graduation, she worked for a lot of artistic companies, including an interior design company and a Japanese graphic designer. In 1984, she started her own company with only $350 for startup money. After seeing immediate success with her first few collections, she opened her first retail store in 1986.

Soon, Eileen Fisher became a big player in New York fashion. She became renowned for her soft and luxurious fabrics, as well as comfortable silhouettes. She also publicized that a lot of materials and how she makes her clothes are sustainable, making her brand one of the very few eco-friendly ones in high fashion. By 2002, the company had earned over $144 million in revenue, while in 2003, it had earned $154 million. Because of their sensible and cozy approach to style, it was embraced heavily by Americans, especially because her clothes comforted then even during intense weather.

Sustainable Practices

More than their stylish clothes, it’s the work and process behind each garment that has people buying into the Eileen Fisher brand. They boast a series of processes are environmentally-stable, making the label an honorable venture. In compliance with Social Accountability International’s SA800, 65% of their products are made in China where facilities specialize in sustainable processes. Their fabrication is also 70% organic, making sure that their materials were made without any harm to any animal. Even when the consumer had already bought their clothes, the company has a recycling program wherein customers can donate their pieces (in mint condition) for a $5 gift certificate. This way, they can still be bought by other customers so that they won’t have to waste that much fabric making a lot of new clothes.

Unique Marketing

More than their eco-friendly practices, the brand is also known for their marketing strategies. Unlike other high fashion brands, whose ad campaigns are usually flashy and fierce, Eileen Fisher approaches her campaigns with comfort and simplicity, much like her clothes. The brand makes use of models of all shapes and sizes, not just one size nor one ethnicity They’ve also used non-professional models for their advertising—just simply ordinary people who look good in their clothes. They want their ad campaigns to reflect the fact that their clothes are for all people, especially since the brand operates for a good cause.

Retail Expansion

With such fine pieces, many prominent retailers across the globe have gotten hold of Eileen Fisher to sell at their stores. In the US, the brand is available at some of the most renowned retailers in American (even international) fashion such as Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, and Saks Fifth Avenue. Because the brand is very democratic, they also sell in department stores such as Bloomingdales and Macy’s, making their items accessible to a wider consumer audience. Internationally, they’ve opened stores in Vancouver, Canada and London, England. Incidentally, those two places are known for cold weather, in which Eileen Fisher clothes are some of to best to wear during such.

What could be better than great fashions? Knowing that they weren’t made out of animals nor do they harm the environment. Such is the principle of Eileen Fisher and her high-quality clothing. The designer and her brand both emphasize that fashion need not be careless towards the environment and that the world can still be safe while dressed well.

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