Eileen Fisher

When Eileen started the company in 1984, she was working as an interior and graphic designer and had trouble finding clothes. She kept imagining simple, timeless pieces like the kimono, which people have worn for thousands of years. That vision led to her “aha” moment: a system of shapes that worked together to make getting dressed easy.

Today, that systems approach has grown to include the whole life cycle of the clothes, from how they’re made at the outset to what happens after you no longer need them, taking into account the well-being of those involved along the way. That’s why we’re designing a circular system and moving away from the take-make-waste manufacturing model toward one that reuses, replenishes or regenerates the resources involved.

With $350 in the bank in 1984, Eileen launched a line of 4 simple shapes in linen—box-top, crop pant, shell and vest—at the Boutique Show in New York City and got $3,000 in orders. They came in one size. The next season, she expanded the line to 8 shapes in French Terry, taking $40,000 in orders.

We created our first Social Consciousness position—leading to the launch of our Human Rights program and an ongoing commitment to philanthropy. We also joined Social Accountability International, the leading organization for advancing human rights in the workplace, and adopted SA8000 as the standard for our supply chain.

In response to the impossible beauty standards often presented in fashion campaigns, our ads featured employees photographed by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders with the tagline “Simply to be ourselves.” Greenfield-Sanders photographed employees and real women for multiple campaigns, ending with our 20th anniversary in 2004.
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