Skip to content



Eileen Fisher

My First: How the Japanese Kimono Inspired the Designs of Eileen Fisher

Eileen Fisher’s spring/summer collection encourages women to embrace the power that’s inside. “Last fall, we introduced our ‘Power in the Words of Women’ campaign, celebrating the many ways women are putting their values into action,” said Fisher. Next year, the label will continue to focus on what makes women feel powerful. “When women tap into their power, there’s nothing they can’t do.”


Eileen Fisher Eileen Fisher.
Courtesy of Eileen Fisher.

And that’s true for the designer, who launched her clothing line in 1983. She had no experience or sketches, and signed up to attend a fashion trade show. Just a few weeks later, she had 12 pieces and an eponymous brand name and logo—all focused on a simple system of dressing that makes women feel confident. Now, over 30 years later, Eileen Fisher is sold in over 60 locations, annually pulling in over $500 million. For Resort 2018, as well, she’s worked new velvet pieces that are washable and bluesign certified—an ethically approved dye for sustainability.

Whitewall spoke with Fisher about how she first got started in fashion, and the very first shape she dreamed up.

Eileen Fisher Courtesy of Eileen Fisher.


WHITEWALL: Why did you begin designing?

Eileen Fisher Courtesy of Eileen Fisher.

EILEEN FISHER: I started the business for a very personal reason—I was having trouble getting dressed. My background was in graphic design, so I had an eye for simple shapes and how they work well together. In my mind, I kept seeing simple designs that used beautiful fabrics in great textures and colors. It was a system of dressing that allowed women to relax into themselves and easily put pieces together so they could focus on life.

WW: What was your very first creation? Tell us about that.

Eileen Fisher Courtesy of Eileen Fisher.

EF: My first design was a simple box top shape. I was drawn to the box top shape because of its architectural lines and the way it could easily be layered on top of a pair of pants, dress or skirt.

WW: Why fashion?

Eileen Fisher Courtesy of Eileen Fisher.

EF: I believe that good design is timeless and is a result of paying attention to what women want and need. You discover a certain freedom and confidence when you put on a garment that has been pared to its essence. I want the company to be known for clothes you don’t have to overthink and that feel amazing every time you wear them. I have always been inspired by the Japanese kimono—it is a shape that has not changed for thousands of years. I wanted to integrate that concept of simplicity and timelessness into my daily wardrobe.




With the spring fairs taking place last week and this week in New York, we’re turning to 10 New York Collectors, like Rodney Miller and more.
Susan Chen's first solo show at Rachel Uffner is on view now through April 20 in New York, including works in clay and ne paintings.
Jennifer Rochlin's exhibition of new work, “Paintings on Clay,” is on view through July 12 at Hauser & Wirth on 22nd Street in New York.


Go inside the worlds
of Art, Fashion, Design,
and Lifestyle.