Eileen Fisher will unveil its first pop-up retail store in Brooklyn at the Glass House at 47 Bergen Street.
The shop will feature the exclusive launch of “Remade in the USA,” the limited-edition 500-piece collection created by the CFDA Social Innovator Award winners. The shop will be open July 23 and 24 and July 30 and 31, from noon to 7 p.m. There will be a kickoff event, open to the public, on July 22.
In partnership with the Council of Fashion Designers of America, Fisher created the inaugural Social Innovators Award, offering fashion design students the opportunity to work alongside the brand’s designers, merchandisers and social consciousness teams. The winners Teslin Doud, Carmen Gama and Lucy Jones — all graduates of The New School’s Parsons School of Design — participated in a 12-month residency project to prototype commercially viable ways to make new designs from the damaged clothes received from the Green Eileen recycling program. The program is a zero-waste project.
“For this project our goal was to find techniques that minimize waste and preserve the inherent value of Eileen Fisher materials,” Gama said. “They’re so beautiful, they can easily have a second and maybe third life.”
The “Remade in the USA” collection is the first scalable zero-waste collection offering one-of-a kind pieces created from felting techniques and natural dyeing redesigned in well-known Fisher patterns. The shop will include the “Remade in the USA” collection, as well as select products from Green Eileen and Eileen Fisher.
In the “Remade in the USA” collection, for example, the designers realized that three pairs of wide-leg pants can be transformed into one new silk tunic. The trio of designers looked through the recycled garments to find items with consistent damages. For example, silk with food stains made a perfect candidate for overdyeing. Pants with torn inseams were an ample source for new designs, and sweaters with moth holes were fed into a felting machine to create new fabric.
The shop will feature garments that look brand new, even though they were created from recycled materials. There are also unusual pieces that mix textures and colors and are more obviously upcycled from garments. There are also artisanal pieces that resemble art.
Instead of cutting up the silk stained tops, for example, they dyed over them. They took the colorful ones and “bundle” dyed them by sprinkling dye extracts and eucalyptus leaves on the shirt, then rolling it up and binding it in a little bundle and steaming them for an hour. Those pieces start at $58. They also took damaged sweaters and needle felted them together. They created a new fabric, the pattern determined by the placement of the colors, which were then cut and sewn into a new garment. For coats, they used 15 to 20 sweaters. The coats are two layers of sweaters, and a kimono cardigan and pullover sweater (made with cashmere) are created with one layer of sweaters. These pieces start at $500.
The designers chose The Glass House which is a very small venue with an organic feeling. The pop-up shop will also be an educational and spiritual place with mending workshops and yoga classes.
The Social Innovators Award was a yearlong residency providing the three winners with work experience in all aspects of the business, from concept and design to sourcing and sustainability, guided by Fisher’s design and merchandising teams. Each also received a prize of $50,000. It hasn’t been determined whether the residency will be repeated.