Eileen Fisher is partnering with the Council of Fashion Designers of America on a new Eileen Fisher Social Innovator Award.
The award will be presented to three full-time student women’s wear designers who are on track to earn their undergraduate degrees in fashion design in May. Each winner will receive a place in a 12-month, full-time residency program at Eileen Fisher’s New York-based creative center after graduation. They will work alongside the brand’s designers, merchandisers and social consciousness teams. The residency will culminate in a design project driven by the winners’ experiences working with the brand. The award winners will be presented by the CFDA at the 2015 CFDA Fashion Awards on June 1.
“Becoming more mindful about clothing means looking at every fiber and every seed and every dye and seeing how to make it better,” said Eileen Fisher, chief creative officer. “We want to inspire today’s up-and-coming designers to think about the impact they are having on the world. We want to make sustainability our way of life, we want it to be universal.”
The award is expected to recognize the next generation of designers who are committed to sustainable design practices. The yearlong residency will provide 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.
Lisa Smilor, executive director of the CFDA, said, “In addition to each receiving a prize of $50,000, these three young fashion designers will gain a strong understanding of procedures, methodologies and industry practice at a company where environmental vision and social consciousness support the development of well-designed product.”
The application review process involves two stages: First, applicants must submit digital portfolios by May 4 that include an Eileen Fisher proposal, a 250-word essay describing his or her design ethos and how it relates to Fisher’s design ethos, as well as a one-page resume. Phase 2 will involve applicant interviews during the week of May 11. The interview panel will be composed of Fisher’s team, industry experts and CFDA members.
CFDA is working with 19 fashion design schools throughout the U.S.