Womenswear label, Eileen Fisher, hosted an inaugral Fashion Revolution Day event in its Covent Garden store in 2014 in a show of support for sustainable fashion. Fashion Revolution Day is now less than a month away and this week Eileen Fisher announced its Vision2020 strategy towards 100% sustainability in the next 5 years.
The brand recently turned 30 and is renowned for perennial layer pieces with designer detail in flattering cuts and considered material selection. With stores across the US – and now in the UK – Eileen Fisher is no newcomer to the industry. Already an established brand with a growing following, the Eileen Fisher Vision2020 commitment looks to have real grit and blazes a trail for other womenswear labels to follow.
Sustainability can be a slippery buzzword selectively applied in the interests of self promotion and can get watered down in meaning as a consequence. But Eileen Fisher is taking no half-measures. Vision2020 commits to 100% sustainability across the spectrum of fashion production.
Nothing about their sustainability plan looks half-hearted and it leaves little wriggle room for compromise:
Fibres: All cotton and linen to be organic by 2020. Rayon will be replaced by Tencel. Merino to be sourced from sheep reared to high standards of animal welfare.
Colour: A major increase in Bluesign certified dyeing focused on lowering water consumption and toxic chemical usage in the treatment process for colouring. Research into new textile suppliers committed to improvements in chemical output and water consumption.
Resources: Cutting water and carbon consumption dramatically and leaving less fabric wasted on the cutting room floor.
People: In the spirit of Fashion Revolution Day, Eileen Fisher is committed to meticulous attention to worker rights and fair pay across its manufacturing in the US and China and rural communities.
Reuse: By 2020 Eileen Fisher aims to recycle 1 million pieces of used clothing for resale, refashioning or recycling.
Mapping: The global supply chain for the company will be mapped out and made available online for customers to follow.
The Eileen Fisher Vision2020 plan challenges the orthodoxy of short term gain trumping social responsibility. They are not the first in wider industry to take sustainability to heart but as a mid-tier womenswear range with global reach and beautiful collections they a setting down an important path that will make it easier for similarly positioned labels to follow.
On Fashion Revolution Day when I ask who made my clothes I know that Eileen Fisher will be one of the few brands that can hand on heart give me an answer. Big shout out for Eileen Fisher!