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Mindful : December 2013
48 mindful December 2013 In another room, three groups of five girls each are cutting images out of mag- azines and ma king collages. They’re led by Leigh Thomas, who just finished her junior yea r at Brown and went through the progra m herself. The exercise is about stories, Thomas tells me. “They’re paying attention to what stories they’re told about themselves by the media. They’ll also be looking at what expec- tations are put on them by stories their peers tell them, as well as what expecta- tions they place on others. Finally, they’ll consider what stories they want to tell the world about themselves and what steps forward they can take to make that happen.” The irony that this exercise is happening in the former headquarters of Cosmo is not lost. Sna king through hallways and up a rickety elevator, we come to a set of gray metal double doors. While we’re walking, Ca mpbell has been telling me about a talk she attended almost a decade ago by William McDonough. He’s the author of Cradle to Cradle a nd The Upcycle, which promote the principle of treating what we’ve already manufactured as a vital resource, rather than always looking to extract more from a depleted Earth. “ What he was saying really turned me on,” Campbell told me. “I came back and excitedly shared with Eileen how I thought an upcycling effort would be a good fit for Eileen Fisher.” Eventually, Green Eileen was born. Loyal customers were asked to return garments they no longer used, with the knowledge that reselling them would support programs to “improve the lives of women and girls in our local and global communities.” As the doors open, the fruits of that effort nearly tumble out into the hallway. Thousands of pieces of returned clothing jam the room. Emerica Du Jesu and Janet Goyzuetta, who heads up the collec- tion operation, patiently sort through, evaluate, and classify the pieces. (Zack Sales of recycled clothing through Green Eileen increased 50% this year, with the proceeds going to programs that improve the lives of women and girls. business