Eileen Fisher: Combining Modern Designs With Social Responsibility

Eileen Fisher, founder and chairwoman of Eileen Fisher Inc., has taken an unorthodox approach to building her clothing business which generates close to $500 million.
Designing effortless clothes that are known for their simple shapes, never staging a fashion show, giving employees stock ownership in the company, beginning every meeting by ringing a bell, and being a leader in sustainability are some of the features that distinguish the firm’s unusual culture.
Speaking with Fern Mallis, creator of New York Fashion Week, author and industry consultant, at the 92nd Street Y Tuesday night, it was disclosed that Fisher heads the largest women’s fashion company to be certified a B Corporation that voluntarily meets high criteria for social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency. In fact, her company is the largest B Corp. in the state of New York. In spring 2015, Fisher disclosed Vision 2020, the company’s ambitious five-year plan that addresses sustainability and human rights.
Mallis and Fisher, who coincidentally showed up wearing the exact same black Eileen Fisher Italian cashmere side-tie poncho, (“This is a first for me on this stage,” said Mallis) went down memory lane. They discussed Fisher’s life growing up in Des Plaines, Ill.; traveling to Japan, where she

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