Threads for Good: How an Event with EILEEN FISHER of Eton and The Hue Jackson Foundation Will Raise Awareness
January 25, 2018 -- By Sarah Tuckowski
For EILEEN FISHER, social consciousness is intertwined within every fiber of the clothes. From environmental issues to women's rights issues, EILEEN FISHER continues to support global and local efforts to create change. In a quest to support local efforts, EILEEN FISHER and The Hue Jackson Foundation will hold A Day of Giving on February 17, 2018, to bring awareness to human trafficking in Northeast Ohio. In an exclusive interview with Megan Carvey (Store Leader) and Rhonda Kanowski (Assistant Store Leader), they discuss what it means for EILEEN FISHER of Eton to be involved with the local foundation.
Q: Social consciousness is a focal point of EILEEN FISHER. Why is this important to the brand?
Janowski: When [Eileen] started the company, she arrived at a New York trade show with four simple pieces and an innovative idea: to make getting dressed simple for women. However, she quickly realized it had the capacity to go beyond just the clothes. Because of her realization, the company identified three key brand pillars: sustainability, women's empowerment and purpose work.
In 2015, EILEEN FISHER announced its commitment to maximize positive environmental and social impact through its product and practices – while ensuring sufficient profitability to sustain this work. The result was Vision2020 which covers eight social and environmental priority areas. The four social areas are Conscious Business Practices, Fair Wages and Benefits, Workers’ Voice and Worker and Community Happiness. The four environmental areas are Materials, Chemistry, Carbon and Water.
In addition to Vision2020, the company launched EILEEN FISHER Renew an innovative take-back and reuse program. Renew collects worn or torn EILEEN FISHER garments from customers in return for a $5 coupon to use towards a future purchase. The clothes are then sent to the recycling center and are either cleaned and resold or turned into entirely new designs. A future where each garment is considered through its entire lifecycle and a bold step towards zero waste.
Lastly, in support of the women’s empowerment pillar, the EILEEN FISHER Leadership Institute educates girls and young people in mindfulness, supporting them to identify ways to communicate and express themselves and build confidence to raise their voices in their communities. Additionally, the company supports women through social initiatives such as the Women’s Business Grant Program, created to empower women-owned businesses and the Activating Leadership Grant, which funds programs that activate leadership qualities in women and girls.
Q: How does EILEEN FISHER, as a whole company, use its brand to promote social change (specifically in regards to human trafficking)?
Janowski: January is designated as the National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. Last year, our store held a community conversation. We wanted people to know [human trafficking] is not happening somewhere else…it’s happening here. Through this conversation, those in attendance were able to learn what the Collaborative to End Human Trafficking is actively doing in our community and also hear from other individuals on the frontline of these efforts. Because of this event, approximately 25 people were able to come in and engage in an informative evening. It was important to bring awareness to human trafficking. We are constantly thinking of where those RIGHT pieces are made.
Human trafficking and slavery has been an issue that we are keenly aware of for many years. Through our grant programs, we have supported multiple nonprofit organizations working on this issue. In addition, since 2011, we have put more focus on this topic in our supply chain human rights program. To learn more about what we do to prevent human trafficking and slavery in our supply chain, please visit: https://www.eileenfisher.com/human-rights/preventing-human-trafficking-and-slavery-in-our-supply-chain/
Q: For you, as well as your staff, what does it mean to be involved in The Hue Jackson Foundation's efforts to raise awareness and combat human trafficking in Northeast Ohio?
Janowski: When I first saw that [The Jacksons] were creating this foundation for human trafficking, it was exciting to see the word brought to the forefront. A lot of people in the area do not understand what [human trafficking] is and what it means. It is important to have public figures [in Northeast Ohio] making this a priority. Due to the fact our store opened in August 2016, this is our second opportunity to partner with a local organization. When developing this partnership, I immediately embraced the fact that this was an organization dedicated to helping survivors. There are different people in Greater Cleveland doing different things. Awareness is great, but once someone has broken the cycle of human trafficking there is a sense of “now what?” This is what resonates with me about The Hue Jackson Foundation. They are answering that “now what?”
Carvey: That’s the point…what’s next? It’s wondering how we move forward from here once an individual breaks the cycle of human trafficking. It’s just wonderful to see [The Hue Jackson Foundation] out there and really putting care and thought into helping the survivors continue with their lives in a different way.
Janowski: You need a home, you need a place. Survivors need to be able to be in a home, like The Hue Jackson Survivors of Human Trafficking Residence, and feel a sense of support.
Interested in attending the Day of Giving? Please RSVP by following this link: