A few weeks ago, over Sunday brunch at Launderette, I complimented a stylish friend on her top. "It's Eileen Fisher," she whispered conspiratorially before diving back into her Sunshine Bowl.
For those of us who have dismissed Eileen Fisher as just the favorite shop of a linen-loving aunt, it's about time to give the women's apparel line another look. Local fashionistas can do just that on May 5 when Eileen Fisher RENEW makes its Austin debut as part of Austin Sustainable Fashion Week.
Eileen Fisher RENEW is the company's attempt to extend the lifecycle of clothing and, ultimately, change consumer habits. According to the most recent numbers from the Environmental Protection Agency, about 10.4 million tons of textiles end up in U.S. landfills every year, making it one of the least recycled materials.
As a way to help combat this, Eileen Fisher built two recycling stations — one in Seattle, one in Irvington, New York — where customers can send their old pieces for a new look. "The team checks the quality and condition of each piece, and then gives it a good-as-new cleaning," the company said in a release. "Clothes that are still in perfect condition are resold and given a second life. Clothes that are damaged are dyed, mended, resewn, or even completely regenerated."
The clothing then becomes part of the Eileen Fisher RENEW collection, of which about 900 pieces will be sold alongside Austin's own Miranda Bennett Studio during Austin Sustainable Fashion Week, running now through May 6. Austin is the latest stop on Eileen Fisher's small, nationwide tour aimed to educate people on the process of stylish consumption.
Miranda Bennett, who has herself built a reputation for creating dreamy, stylish pieces with sustainability in mind, will be offering pieces from her Zero Waste Collection and Studio Sale alongside RENEW. Fashion-forward locals can shop both collections in the 2nd Street District at 217 W. Second St. from 11 am-6 pm.
Those looking to learn more about sustainable fashion can join Bennett and Eileen Fisher RENEW creative lead Lilah Horowitz for The Future is Circular: A Sustainable Fashion Symposium on May 4 at Austin Resource Recovery. The event, which is free and open to the public, will include a special fireside chat with Bennett and Horowitz, as well an evening of talks from those leading the sustainable fashion movement.