Eileen Fisher Isn't Totally Sure When Fashion Week Was

Illustration for article titled Eileen Fisher Isn't Totally Sure When Fashion Week Was
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The New York Times recently chatted with Eileen Fisher, founder of the eponymous clothing company famous for strangely glamorous relaxed linen smocks. And frankly, I’m inspired by her seeming lack of attention to the lightening-fast trend cycles of her own industry.


Writer David Gelles interviewed Fisher for the recurring feature The Corner Office, and she comes across as someone who marches to her own beat. The introduction notes:

Ms. Fisher, 68, offers elliptical, impressionistic answers when explaining her improbable career. She grew up in a chaotic home and worked at a Burger King as a teenager. She moved to New York, but she was inspired by the kimono during a trip to Japan. She bootstrapped her company, caught an early break and has been making the same clothes, more or less, since 1984.

She’s not shy about having been right:

It seems like some of the principles you’ve always stood for — sustainability, quality materials — are suddenly in vogue now.

We were right all along.

She spoke about the company’s benefits and employee ownership program:

I’m really convinced that it works for the business. It engages people and their sense of ownership, and they’ll tell you things. They’ll say in a meeting, “Don’t spend my money on that.” People aren’t happy when they see people wasting money here or there or being extravagant on something.

It’s a way we can do our part around this income inequality thing. I think it should be mandatory. I think corporations should have to share a minimum 10 percent of their profits with the people working. It’s not socialism, it’s good for business.

And best of all:

It was just Fashion Week. Do you do anything for Fashion Week?

When was Fashion Week?

Cheers to Eileen Fisher, icon of being yeah-I-said-it years old.


Senior Editor, Attic Haunter, Jezebel


i flew into town a few days before my dad died, having not packed a funeral appropriate dress because it seemed too morbid? even though he’d been in hospice for a few months, and was pretty out of it by then.

anyway, after he died, in the afternoon after we picked out his casket, i went to the mall with my mother because she realized she didn’t have any hose and i didn’t have anything but jeans.

i’d gained a lot of weight throughout his illness, so i was looking for something funeral appropriate, but also very comfortable because i didn’t want to be reminded of how uncomfortable i was in my body. i also wanted to be able to eat and drink myself into a stupor if i wanted. (funerals really are like weddings: when you’re a VIP mourner, you’re pretty much allowed to do anything you want, because who the hell knows how to act?)

i was eyeballing the eileen fisher stuff when a lovely saleswoman who looked not unlike eileen fisher herself came over to help. i couldn’t ruin her day by telling her i was buying clothes for my dad’s funeral (i already ruined the shoe salesman’s day), so i just said i needed something conservative.

she pointed me at a $375 black sack dress and said it was a good choice because it was versatile. i balked, because it was a sack dress and because it was $375. i didn’t want to spend that kind of money on a funeral dress that i figured i’d wear once, especially since i hoped i’d lose some of the grief weight. but i tried it on, it was nice and comfy and i was tired and wanted a nap and i decided to worry about the credit card bill later and i figured it’d be a good joke that i spent that on a sack dress for a funeral.

joke’s on me! two and a half years later, and i can definitively say this is the best item of clothing i own! two and a half years later, i have worn it 30-40 times (i don’t have much call for dress wearing), in all seasons. with tights and boots, it’s casual in the winter. i wore it with very big and modern jewelry and fancy shoes to a cocktail party in miami. i’ve worn it to the theater a bunch of times, with sandals in the summer to make it casual, to sparkly christmas events. i’ve worn it to another funeral. i’ve also lost some weight, but it still looks good. it has pockets. it can be wrapped into a tiny ball and be wrinkle free after hanging for 10 minutes. it stretches. it’s machine washable. it is amazing.

this is my eileen fisher story: i accidentally bought the best piece of clothing i own in a haze of grief because eileen fisher is great.