Designer Eileen Fisher creates feel-good fashion in more ways than one conscious Bostonians.
When Eileen Fisher founded her eponymous label in 1984, she set out to provide chic, simple solutions to the problem of what to wear each morning. “Women long to experience the magic that happens when you put on a garment that’s been pared to its essence: It come s alive on your body, and you discover a certain freedom and confidence,” she explains. “I wanted to create a system of dressing that allowed women to relax into themselves.” Now her customers can also rest assured knowing that their clothing has a positive impact on the planet, thanks to the brand’s sustainably sourced materials and philanthropic programs.
As clear today as it was three decades ago, Fisher’s vision is evident in her reliable offerings: simple ballet-neck tops, tailored shirts, and lightweight skirts in soft, natural fabrics and colors. This aesthetic has been well received by the women of Boston: The brand currently has five stores in the area, including locations in Chestnut Hill, Wellesley, Hingham, and Copley Place, whose larger, redesigned space debuted this spring. “The Boston shopper enjoys a timeless look with quality fabrics,” says Fisher, “things that we do best.”
Fisher’s spring 2015 Icons Collection—her most eco-conscious to date—features several reimagined early designs, such as the Box-Top, an easy, tunic-style sweater from her original four-piece collection; the Coat, a fluid, flattering design from 1989; and the Maxi, a long-line cardigan introduced in 1997. Each piece is created from sustainably sourced fibers, such as organic cotton and linen, using 45 percent fewer chemicals and 25 percent less water in the dyeing process. Fisher’s long-term target is 100 percent sustainability. “Our goal is simple: design without negative impacts right from the start,” she says. “We want to make sustainability our way of life.”
In addition to eco-friendly manufacturing, Fisher is focused on giving back. In 2009 she founded Green Eileen, an initiative that keeps discarded clothing out of landfills by taking back, mending, and reselling used Eileen Fisher garments. All sales proceeds—totaling more than $2.5 million so far—go to nonprofits that work to empower women and girls, a cause that’s very close to Fisher’s heart. In 2004 she created the Women’s Business Grant Program, which annually bestows five grants of $12,500 each to support women in business.
“I wanted to encourage women entrepreneurs, especially those who believe that business can be used to create social change,” Fisher says. “I have always thought of the company as being about more than the clothes. Creating meaningful impact in the world is at the heart of it.” Copley Place, 617-536-6800