What Power Means to Eileen Fisher

Eileen Fisher. Photo: Courtesy the brand.

Eileen Fisher, mother of draped organic cotton cardigans, is giving us a lift during dark times.

In addition to producing clothes we love, the designer has also been busy over the years pledging sustainability (all her cotton and linen will be organic by 2020), building the Eileen Fisher Leadership Institute, and donating millions of dollars to nonprofit organizations. She also contributes to her brand’s various grants, which support leadership programs for women and girls, women-owned businesses, and local communities. Today, the brand launched its fall 2017 campaign, which asks seven female community leaders what power means to them.

“Although past campaigns have featured a variety of women, this time it felt different,” wrote Fisher in an email. “With so much change in the political sphere, we wanted to highlight powerful women who are making strides within their communities and the larger world.”

The women photographed by the documentary/portrait photographer Abbie Trayler-Smith include Amanda Gorman, the Youth Poet Laureate of the United States; Nicole Jennings, the founder of Just Ask Me, a peer-led sex-education program at the Bronx Women’s Housing and Economic Development Corporation; and Colleen Saidman Yee, the author of Yoga for Life and co-founder of Donna Karan’s Urban Zen Integrative Therapy.

While on set with these seven women, Fisher said the energy was palpable, however her definition of power is a much quieter one:

“Some power is vast — it shapes countries and economies and affects millions of lives,” Fisher writes. “But there’s an arguably equal power that’s quieter. It’s in every one of us, and we can use it in big and small ways, every day. It’s the power of compassion to protect the dignity of those in need. The ability to make someone laugh, and to find opportunity in challenges — the drive to take an idea and turn it into a new business. That’s power, too.”

Exclusive: What Power Means to Eileen Fisher