Eileen Fisher is known for its careful consideration of color. For our series of interviews with the EF Team, we caught up with Chris Costan, Senior Color Designer, to solicit her insight and expertise in developing color palettes for ready-to-wear and home collections.
Q: Please define your position at Eileen Fisher.
A: As Senior Color Designer, I generate the seasonal color concepts and palettes, exclusive palettes, and accessory color combinations, allocating color to fabric, yarns, styles and “how to wear”. Staying up to date on the latest trends and cultural moments is vital to the job that I perform at EF. I also work with the Garnet Hill EF Home team to introduce new concepts and combinations to the existing Eileen Fisher home line of bedding, bath, and sleepwear. Along with new ideas, we always want to ensure that we keep a consistent Eileen Fisher aesthetic.
Q: As a visual artist, how did you start working in color design/fashion?
A: My own career as a visual artist has informed my skill set, which it turned out was applicable to my job as colorist for Eileen Fisher. I came to EF without precise fashion experience but have always had a great aptitude and interest in fashion and trend. I once worked at MTV television networks on an animated television program, Daria, where fashion was quite important. I was supervisor of the color department overseeing the colors (characters, clothing, backgrounds and props) of Daria.
Q: What is most rewarding about your job as a color designer?
A: My job is quite hectic, varied and challenging. It involves making 1000’s of aesthetic decisions. It is rewarding to “reinvent” the wheel, meaning, given the restrictions and parameters of what color needs to be for this clothing line, I can try to make each palette different from those in the past.
Q: What is your favorite object in your studio?
A: My favorites vary from time to time. At the moment, a dried mushroom conglomeration, it’s inspirational in relation to the miracle of nature and color, and it inspired a canvas-y jumpsuit.
Q: How are the colors for the Eileen Fisher Home Collection developed?
A: I assess the colors from the EF ready-to-wear line and see which of those might be transferable to our home line. Then I interact with the designers at Garnet Hill as they contribute the Garnet Hill needs for color until we refine and finalize.
Q: What does your typical day look like?
A: My day also varies from day to day, season to season. I explore trends online, on the street and by reading magazines. I work alone on designing, conceptualizing, and planning ahead, jotting down ideas, gathering images and thinking of new color names (lots of multitasking). I also collaborate with different teams; design, merchandising, education and sometimes the writers for Eileen Fisher.
Q: Are there any colors on the rise that you love? What’s your favorite color of the moment?
A: I’ve been a fan of “cosmetic colors” for quite some time. A worker’s suit type of Green is on point right now. I’ve always loved pink so for the EF for GH home offering, Rosewater. Blue! Black! White! Too much information!