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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Did I Hear You Say Rag Paper Lantern? It's Green Eileen

Posted by on Tue, Jan 15, 2013 at 9:28 AM

What used to constitute retail "ecology" was, like, Gap in the middle, Banana Republic more expensive, Old Navy cheaper. Now in 2013, retail ecology is like this: Eileen Fisher is setting up a thrift version of itself.

Green Eileen already exists in New York and it's coming to Seattle in March, says a press release: "Both a store and a recycling program," it's a "unique, environmentally conscious retail experience," "a project of the Eileen Fisher Community Foundation and all proceeds support women and girls."

Eileen Fisher clothes seem luxurious, dull: beautiful fabrics, cuts beyond comfortable, colors worn by cultures afraid of colors, unaffordable. It's great that all the proceeds of Green Eileen benefit the ladyfoundation. My cynical side still wonders whether this is a bid for relevance in an economy where a sweater for 200 smackers is just offensive. (What what? What what?.)

In March, Green Eileen will open at 4860 Rainier Avenue South. (The three regular EF stores—two in Seattle, one in Bellevue—will still be the same.) It'll sell used EF stuff, or new EF stuff made of old EF stuff: "Clothing that is too worn or stained to resell is cut up and used creatively. It might be woven into rugs, sewn into hats or made into rag paper lanterns at community classes." Each donated garment gets you $5 toward new EF stuff. Forty old sweaters and you get a new one!

Then again, poor EF. Trying to do something nice and here I am, dissing. I'm sure there's better dissing to be done in the realm of corporate/designer retail. WDYT?


Comments (8) RSS

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sheiler 1
I will always associate Eileen Fisher with Provincetown. I was swimming in the bay near Commercial Street, and then decided to get out and walk around, to prove a point about going into fine art galleries and luxury clothing shops wearing not much more than a wet swim suit. I walked into Eileen Fisher after my swim. The fine oak floors and the blaring air conditioning and the blaring Frank Sinatra. Well I didn't care for Sinatra before. But somehow it was the perfect music to be playing. It was in the Eileen Fisher store where I finally 'got' Frank Sinatra. And I found the perfect tank top - yes expensive - but I wore the hell out of it and looked great doing it.
Posted by sheiler on January 15, 2013 at 9:45 AM · Report this
I say BRAVO EILEEN FISHER! yes, I’m yelling that ... Jen, have you been to their site? Are you aware of the sustainable way their clothes are made? Or the fact that they support women owned businesses? ... I know $200 seems like a lot for a sweater but given that a $125 sweater from Anthropology or a $29.99 blouse from Old Navy are probably made in a factory where the workers are almost slaves and the dyes pollute the nearby river ... it’s a choice worth considering. Me? I’d rather have one great piece of clothing that will hold up and look good beyond a few wash cycles, while reflecting my values.
Posted by olive oyl on January 15, 2013 at 9:51 AM · Report this
I understand the impulse, but I say do the dissing elsewhere. Their clothes are sustainable, well-made, and yes, they're high-end; but they're trying to do good things here. Let's turn our dissing to the many, many, many companies who aren't even trying.
Posted by CogInTheMachine on January 15, 2013 at 10:07 AM · Report this
Moral of the story: not all luxury good companies are evil.
Posted by David from Chicago on January 15, 2013 at 10:24 AM · Report this
Gurldoggie 5
I have no opinion about Eileen Fisher, but I consider it a crying shame that this shop is taking the place of what was Seattle's very last 2nd-hand bookstore south of downtown.
Posted by Gurldoggie on January 15, 2013 at 11:15 AM · Report this
Eileen Fisher: overpriced sustainable clothing for grown-ups! Meanwhile, I believe The Stranger continues to use non-Union printing facilities to save a few bucks?
Posted by tiktok on January 15, 2013 at 11:18 AM · Report this
thatsnotright 7
$200 for a sweater is too much. Well, buy that cheap sweat shop Old Navy stuff with good conscience then.
Posted by thatsnotright on January 15, 2013 at 12:34 PM · Report this
Fnarf 8
@7, Eileen Fisher manufactures its clothes in the same countries and probably the same factories as Old Navy. And if you're looking for "sweatshops", you should start closer to home, in LA and NY, which are full of them.

$200 may be "too much" for you to pay for a sweater but it's not for rich people, and there are enough rich people that EF can just let the rest of us go screw. There are plenty of people in this country who buy $200 sweaters like you or I buy candy bars. Who do you think is buying all those million-dollar condos downtown? Big closets in those places.
Posted by Fnarf on January 15, 2013 at 1:22 PM · Report this

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