4.29.2013

What a "Social Consciousness Director" Says

After mentioning Eileen Fishers' Green Eileen effort in my last post, I caught an interview with their "social consciousness director" on The Brian Lehrer show.  You, too, can listen to it here.

What does a "social consciousness director" say?

- "Green fashion" exists in a gray area since it's their job to produce and sell, but how do they "balance" that with ecological and human rights factors?  {my note:  "balance" was an interesting word choice because it implies fairness, although it's still always a negative impact...}

- The brand uses third party auditors and builds relationships with their manufacturers to avoid manufacturing in crappy, exploitative and unsafe overseas factories (although they do produce some apparel in the US)

- The brand thinks the talent needed to make their clothing exists primarily in China as the US garment industry is failing (apparently they're competitive with the US's prices at this time and the brand could go elsewhere if they wanted cheap labor)

- This isn't the director's statement but a caller actually questions buyers' and brands' responsibility for manufacturers disobeying building codes and treating their staff unfairly!  {my note:  wow, this is the first time I've heard someone try to shirk the connection between our low-balled clothing pricing and detrimental working conditions!}


And in case you are wondering what Eileen Fisher clothes look like, this was the most attractive thing I could find on their site.  Most of it looks like drapey middle-aged women stuff (and I say this as someone quickly approaching 40).

eileen fisher linen shirt

This one's linen but there are plenty of non-vegan items at Eileen Fisher


The official blurb for the show:

Eileen Fisher clothing, based in Irvington, NY, includes includes a concern for human rights and the environment in its mission statements. Its director of social consciousness Amy Hall talks about the nitty gritty of producing a clothing line in keeping with those goals -- from the environmental impact of natural fibers to the treatment of workers in many garment factories.  The collapse of the building housing several clothing manufacturers in Dhaka, Bangladesh, shows what's at stake as companies try to compete in the global textile market.

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