Green Eileen is once again joining forces with Fiberflame to present a day of shopping, crafting, food, and activism. Join us on July 31, for our second-ever collaboration with Fiberflame, and learn about the amazing people who are making the Hudson Valley a great place to live.
The day will begin with a workshop for kids and adults to create a reusable farmer's market bag fashioned from recycled Eileen Fisher Tee’s, followed by an opportunity to shop our Green Eileen clothing pop-up store. As always, all profits from the sale of Green Eileen clothing are donated to programs that serve women and girls. Save some energy for more shopping, and swing by the farmers market to pick up some farm fresh produce to fill your new market tote!
Representatives from several community resources will be on hand in the studio, discussing their work and their commitment to the Hudson Valley; participants include the Green Guru Network, Queens Galley soup kitchen, Woodstock Land Conservancy, and Woodstock Farm Festival.
We are so grateful to Fiberflame’s co-owners, Christina Brady and Shea Lord-Farmer, for inviting us back after our first collaborative event last January. The event, [Re]fresh, [Re]start, [Re]new, was a huge success! Green Eileen and Fiberflame showcased the work of Hope’s Fund, a wonderful organization that improve the lives of women in Ulster County and beyond. Stop by for an amazing day of shopping, food and fun on July 31, and help us continue to support programs so crucial to improving the lives of women in our local, national and global communities.
Find a full schedule of events below. We look forward to seeing you there!
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Wednesday July, 31:
11am-1pm Reusable farm market bag workshop. We’ll turn recycled EILEEN FISHER t-shirts into re-useable market bags. FIBERFLAME artist/crafters will guide you and your kids to decorate them with colorful block prints made from vegetables! Pre-register to reserve your space here. Fee $25, or 2 participants for $40.
12-3pm GREEN EILEEN pop-up shop. Come shop our collection of gently worn EILEEN FISHER clothing. Plus—learn about your community! Meet the folks that are taking care of those in need and are protecting our environment. Learn about the local & national organizations that benefit from the GREEN EILEEN recycling program.
12-3pm Drop-in crafting. Try your hand at a making necklaces from recycled t-shirts. Kids jewelry-making, too.
11:30am-7pm Food Trucks for a Cause. Get your lunch next door at the Tin Cantina. A portion of proceeds of lunch sales will be donated to local food kitchen: the Queen’s Galley in Kingston, NY.
3pm-dusk WoodStock Farm Festival. Take your newly fashioned shopping bag to the woodstock farmer’s market: shop, eat, listen to music.
For directions, and Fiberflame contact information visit: http://www.fiberflamestudio.com/workshops/fiberflame-green-eileen-a-day-to-discover-the-bounty-of-the-hudson-valley/
Anyone who knows me knows that I don't get very excited about shopping. I love clothes—don't get me wrong. I just don't like hunting for the perfect leather jacket, finding it (if I'm lucky), and then wearing the same jacket as 1,000 other women in a 10 mile radius who all seem to wear it better than I do.
So when I say that I am excited (like on-the-waiting-list excited) about a new clothing concept, I typically really mean it. And Bib + Tuck is the first shopping experience I have been really excited about since, well, since Green Eileen.
Bib + Tuck is a high-end, barter only clothing concept. Their "only give what you would take" model keeps the quality of their inventory original and exclusive. Couple that with an invite-only membership roster featuring New York's premier fashion writers and designers, and you have a pretty good idea of what Bib + Tuck is about.
While I know I won't be receiving an invitation anytime soon, I am still very excited about Bib + Tuck. Rent-a-Runway was the first of its kind in the then emerging "peer to peer" fashion marketplace, and it has done much to change popular notions about how we consume clothing. Now, with more start-ups entering this space, we see a whole generation of consumers pushing responsible buying behavior into the mainstream. Thank you, Bib + Tuck. Truly brilliant.
Thank you to the wonderful creators of Ampersand for all your ongoing advice. "How to Hand Wash a Sweater" is an oldy-but-a-goody from the Ampersand archives. For more great tips from the Eileen Fisher staff, make sure to visit the full site here.
Over to You: The Care Cycle
Did you know that clothing’s greatest environmental impact happens during the care cycle? It’s sometimes hard to imagine, but care—washing, drying, ironing and dry cleaning—uses more energy and toxins than either raising fiber, spinning, dying, manufacturing or transportation. One of the simplest ways to minimize the impact of care is to hand wash clothes in cold water, using non-petroleum, eco-friendly soaps.
A step-by-step guide to hand washing
Read the care labels and you’ll find that, in most cases, cotton, linen, silk, and wool can be hand washed. So instead of sending sweaters to the dry cleaner, wash them following the instructions below.
1. Fill a basin with cool water. Add mild soap, preferably an eco-friendly variety.
2. Place sweater in water and swirl gently.
3. Rinse. Drain basin. Gently press sweater to remove excess water, being careful not to wring or twist.
4. Spread sweater on a thick, dry towel. Roll towel the way you would a yoga mat, pressing as you go. Do not twist towel.
5. Unroll. Lay sweater on a dry towel on a flat, waterproof surface. Reshape sweater. Spread arms out straight, push ribbing together, align collar and button any buttons. If there is a belt, dry it separately. After 12 to 24 hours (depending on the thickness of knit), turn sweater over and spread out on a dry towel. You won’t need to reshape but you can pat and fluff.
6. Once completely dry, your sweater should be ready to wear. If any wrinkles or folds remain, use a steamer to remove.
Let me start by saying that I am a big supporter of Kickstarter. In 2009, Kickstarter created a new, democratic way to connect entrepreneurs to much needed start-up capital. By bringing great ideas and would-be philanthropists together in one place, Kickstarter gave entrepreneurs an alternative to the exclusive world of VCs and the drudgery of traditional lenders. To date, Kickstarter has helped more than 43,000 artists and entrepreneurs crowdsource funding from an online community of supporters.
So when I saw this campaign for domestically produced, organic yarns, I knew I had to shout it out on the rooftops: GO SUPPORT THIS PROJECT.
The Dyehouse Project has set a goal of raising $25,000. That sum will allow Dyehouse to purchase new equipment that will reduce their water and electricity consumption by up to 40%. Learn more in their video here, and give $5 to help kickstart this great project!
At Green Eileen, we are obsessed with squeezing every last drop of life from our Eileen Fisher clothing. We mend, hem, tack and shave our favorite pieces to make sure that none of our clothes needlessly end up in the upcycling bin. We are so committed to extending the lifetime of our clothes that Green Eileen offers free sewing and mending lessons so that our clothes-loving brethren can perform basic repairs at home. (Check out our Workshops page for more information about the Seattle and New York repair programs.)
But what happens if your favorite skirt or blouse can't be fixed with a needle and thread? You know, like when you drop a meatball in your lap at dinner or when a sweat stain sets in after a particularly long and sticky commute? Green Eileen Seattle's Alice has a solution: Rit.
Yes, Rit Dye. The ubiquitous, $2.49 miracle in a box. The original Rit formula was developed in 1917 by Chicago-based entrepreneur, Charles Huffman. By the 1930's, the all-purpse dye formula had been created and the rest was history: today, Rit all purpose dye continues to be the most popular household dye in the country.
If you were like me as a kid, Rit probably got you in trouble after a dying experiment went terribly wrong in your kitchen sink. But with improvements in washing machine technology, dying is now very easy. Simply drop the dye in the detergent slot of your washing machine, set machine to a hot water cycle, and wash for at least 30 minues. Make sure to clean your machine with bleach (also on the hot water setting) after your dye cycle is complete.
Rit is available in 26 colors, a few of which are likely carried at your local drug store. It is a quick, easy and cheap way to breath new life back into that stained skirt you just couldn't part with!
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Here are a few dying tips from Alice, our new resident Rit expert.
1. For less saturated color, use only half of the recommended dye amount. Alice used half of the "Dark Green" Rit dye to dye her 100% organic cotton skirt, pictured above.
2. Rit works best on natural fibers. Try blends with at least 60% silk, cotton, linen or hemp.
3. Be sure to use enough dye for the weight or size of the project. For a pound of dry fabric (about 3 yards), use one package of Rit powder or 1/2 bottle of Rit liquid in 3 gallons of water.
4. To avoid blotchy dye results, dissolve Rit powder in 2 cups hot water before adding to dye bath.
5. For more intense color, use a water temperature of 140ºF of higher. If you don't want to use the washing machine technique, then use 3 gallons of boiled water on your stovetop.
6. If you do use the stove top method, make sure to continue stirring the dye bath for even color saturation.
7. Avoid dyeing wool in the washing machine because felting will occur.
With the grand opening of Green Eileen Seattle behind us, the Green Eileen Team finally has the time to focus on what is really important: getting involved in community events, developing upcycling programs, and spending time connecting with the women in our team. As we spend our days together the most amazing stories unfold. Whether it is a tale of courage, loss, or simply the mundane, every women in our team has has a remarkable story to share.
After spending a few weeks with our most recent hire, Renelle (Moon) Lewis, we discovered that she pioneered a unique American art form around symbolism and iconography. She developed her collection of symbolic patterns while traveling and teaching in Paris, Beijing, Seoul and Geneva. In 2011, Lewis self-published her collection in Symbolic Art Patterns: Creating Universal Symbols. I interviewed her to find out more about the rich world of symbolic art.
Your book is called Symbolic Art Patters, can you tell me a little about what symbolism and iconography mean to you?
An icon is sacred object, an object of worship or adoration. Throughout the human experience this has become a long list—you know our species is about 200,00 years old. So, I had to narrow it down to what we consider to be holy and worthy of adoration. I started in all the major religions, looking at Christianity, Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Hinduism, Judaism. They were all important to my research of sacred objects. I found that an icon can be a rock, a cave, whatever—but they all have a deep symbolic meaning.
How did you get drawn to symbolism?
In 1989 images of black iconography—images of Blacks in western art—really got my interest. I started looking at art work that reflected sacred images of people of color. I focused mostly on angels, which seemed to be plentiful. I had come into the company of the late Mary Guggenheim and asked her to join me in the effort by painting some Black angels. From that, we started the Lewis and Guggenheim collection of black iconography—which laid the groundwork for sacred images. After that there was some unexpected downturn in interest in seeing images of people of color—but I think I was the last person to know that. We got some negative attention—which is good—because it drew me into the world of symbols.
I wanted to develop something that represented images but had no human characteristics. For example, race, ethnicity, size, sex, hair, eyes—none of that stuff. So I took the same images, including the black images, and created symbols based on those icons. And then I branched out and started doing regular images: relics, nature—everything has a symbol. And from this, over the course of 20 years, I've used it as decorative, iconic artwork.
In some cultures sacred images are not meant to be applied as art or ornamentation. How do symbols differ?
This art work that you are speaking of, the sacred symbolic art patterns in my earliest work, the best place for it is in the realm of the church or temple. One very touchy symbolic art pattern that I did, Im sure you can understand this, is the sixth century foot of the Prophet Muhammad based on some artwork I got at the Jung Institute in New York City. I designed it, but it was so sacred that I could only allow the symbol to belong to that world of Islamic mosques and architecture.
Some artwork—I don't even like to bring it out—has a sacred purpose and is not for any kind of commercial use whatsoever. So you wont see Big Brother Muhammad's symbolic art prattern on somebody's t-shirt unless they put it there.
What has been the highlight of your journey through symbolism?
Teaching these thing to the kids. Adults, well, Im not going to digress into that. But kids are genuine, original thinkers. I started off with kids using them as a guidepost for what people are attracted to, and it was deeply intuitive on their part. When it resonated with the kids I knew I had it.
Design them and let them roll. They know exactly where they want to be.
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Need a gift for the scrabble addict or comic book collector in your life? Check out this line of upcycled bow ties from New York based designer, Wonder Lee. Lee crafts stylish bow ties out of found materials (anything ranging from LEGOs to New York city metro cards), and from what I can tell, has a lot of fun doing it. Operating in this very niche market allows all of her designs to be hand crafted, one of a kind and very cool.
If you are in the New York area, stop by and check out her goods at Manhattans's Sustainably NYC or Boooklyn's Rebelution. Not in NY? Not out of luck! She also has an online store.