Milan – The words ‘Eileen Fisher’ used to be a punchline if you were a woman under 40. ‘You’re basically Diane Keaton,’ joked Madeleine Davies over at Jezebel. Kristy Eldredge took to McSweeney’s to explain that one starts wearing Eileen Fisher ‘when you don’t mind looking like drapes… [or] when you’re liberated by looking like drapes.’ But then, in full earnestness, women of all ages started embracing what fashion site Man Repeller labeled menocore – a play on menopause and normcore. ‘[Women who’ve figured out a thing or two about life reject trends in favour of timeless, simple and deeply personal dressing,’ wrote Lucy Jones of Well Made Clothes, coming clean about how long it took her (and us) to catch up with Fisher's message of conscious femininity. ‘The older I get, the more this style approach appeals to me. I’m only 26, but I already feel tired just thinking about the perpetually turning wheel of the trend cycle.’
Eileen Fisher was ahead of her time with the generous cut and quality build of her clothes. She was also ahead of her time with Renew, a circular buy-back programme that encouraged customers to exchange their used garments for store credit – the pieces can be either professionally cleaned and resold at a lower price or reworked into new items. And now, via a series of textile panels created at the Waste No More studio in New York, the brand is doing to space what it did to clothes: turning ascetic beauty into something immediately aspirational, regardless of the mindful context.
Presented during this Milan Design Week, the Waste No More installation turned the unusable bits of thousands of bought-back white linen, cashmere, organic cotton and wool pieces into a series of delicately produced wall hangings.
Last year at Ventura Centrale, the brand confronted visitors with the sheer size of the apparel market’s troglodyte overconsumption, displaying a towering group of crates filled with discarded clothing in a rainbow array. It also featured a first public iteration of the panels, felted by the studio’s creative director Sigi Ahl in unmissable tones of oranges and cherry reds and periwinkles.
It's not about confrontation as much as it is about offering possibilities going forward