How Eileen Fisher and the CFDA are propelling the next generation toward a more sustainable future

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Eileen Fisher (center left) with Social Innovators Project winners Lucy Jones, Teslin Doud and Carmen Gama. Photo by Fashionista

Eileen Fisher is one of the OGs of ethical fashion, which is why I jumped at the chance to cover her Social Innovators Project in partnership with the CFDA for Fashionista. The project offered three recent fashion school grads focused on sustainability a yearlong residency with Fisher’s eponymous label, giving them valuable access to mentorship, resources, and institutional know-how.

In return, the three young designers were given a design challenge: what should the brand do with the hundreds of thousands of damaged garments collected through its Green Eileen clothing recycling project?

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Naturally dyed tops from the collection. Photo by Fashionista

The Remade In The USA collection was the trio’s solution. The upcycled collection uses techniques like resewing, felting and natural dyeing to turn old garments into gorgeous new pieces in keeping with the Eileen Fisher aesthetic. Last week, I visited the collection’s debut at a private pop-up shop in Brooklyn—and watched the designers chat with Eileen Fisher herself about wading through mountains of clothes, dyeing shirts with eucalyptus, and what “sustainable” really means.

Read my full rundown of the event over at Fashionista.

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The Social Innovators, Eileen Fisher and Fashionista’s Dhani Mau at the panel last week. Photo by Fashionista

Note: You may notice that the linked piece is tagged as “sponsored content” on Fashionista’s site. While that means different things at different publications, here’s what it meant in this case: My editor assigned me the piece. I wrote it and sent it in. My editor made a few minor edits (like adding the name of the Brooklyn neighborhood where the event took place) and then published it. I actually didn’t know that the piece was going to be considered ‘sponsored,’ but I guess it just speaks to my genuine enthusiasm for the brand—they didn’t even need to ask me to review the thing kindly, because yours truly is already an Eileen Fisher fangirl. Here’s to brands so boss that they don’t have to bribe people for praise.**

**This bit of over-explaining brought to you by my attempt to be a writer whose opinion you can trust isn’t for sale to the highest bidder. Cheers.

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