Giving Back: Teach for America

As a company, we believe in supporting youth empowerment and education, so when it came time to select an organization to support, Teach For America was a natural choice. If you’re not familiar with Teach for America, you should be. Teach For America is a national teacher corps of recent college graduates who commit a minimum of two years to teach in under-resourced urban and rural public schools and become lifelong leaders in the effort to expand educational opportunity.

Teach for America Teach for America

In October, Marcie Eberhart, Director of the AEO Foundation, along with AEO Style Director, Preston Konrad and Lauren Rourke, Manager of Styling, visited a classroom at New York City public school Washington Heights Expeditionary Learning School, also known as WHEELS, to talk fashion and the importance of education. WHEELS, founded by Teach For America alumnus Brett Kimmel (Houston Corps ‘96), serves 650 students in grades six through 12, nearly all of whom are people of color and 100 percent of whom are growing up in poverty. The school is posting impressive results; students exceed the citywide average pass rates on the Regents exams and 100 percent of their graduates have been accepted to college in the past several years. Preston and Lauren spoke about their journey through the fashion industry, eventually landing the job of their dreams at AEO, and spent time answering the students’ questions.

Teach for America

The entire junior class received a free pair of AEO Jeans.

Teach for America

Teach for America

This holiday season, we’re asking you to help give back. When you purchase an AEO gift box in stores for 50 cents, you will help a child in need. 100% of proceeds from gift box sales will be donated to Teach For America (up to $100,000) to sponsor 18 classrooms for one year.

Teach for America

Teach for America

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AEOBetterWorld Community Day

This past Tuesday, Nearly 1,300 associates from American Eagle corporate offices volunteered their time to give back to their local communities in Pittsburgh, New York City, and San Francisco, as well as in Canada, Mexico, China and Hong Kong. Some associates planted trees, created park benches, spent time with children, while others attended animal shelters and food banks. Associates volunteered for over 30 community projects to make a positive impact. Check out the photos below and start volunteering in your community today! Want to see more photos? Follow #AEOBetterWorld on Instagram to see over 500 photos!

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COME HELP SAVE THE PLANET WITH AEO and I:CO

Guest Writer: Jennifer Gilbert, Chief Marketing Officer @ I:CO

Did you know that almost every piece of your clothing or pair of shoes is reusable or recyclable? It’s true but every year, billions of pounds of these items end up in our landfills, causing harm to our planet. American Eagle Outfitters and I:CO  (a global closed loop textile recycling company) want to help change this by making it easy, convenient and instantly rewarding for everyone to give their unwanted clothing, shoes, and accessories new life. AEO ICO Display 3

 “Live Your Life. Save Your Planet.” Collection Box.

Starting today, you can drop off those old kicks, that worn-out pair of jeans or hopelessly out of style threads into I:CO boxes at any of the 800+ American Eagle Outfitters US and Canada stores. In return, you’ll be rewarded with a text code for $5 off a pair of AEO jeans.  Every item collected helps the planet, and any proceeds from the program will be donated to the Student Conservation Association, empowering new generations of environmental leaders. What happens to the items once I:CO receives them? We re-utilize, renew and regenerate them. Items are sorted using over 350 different criteria to determine their most effective next use. This could be finding a new home as second hand clothing, reuse as cleaning cloths, recycling into fibers for carpet padding and insulation for the building and automotive industries or up-cycling into new fabrics and products. This is what we call “closing the loop.”

Clothes Sorting Upclose 72 dpi

I:CO Team sorting thru the donated clothes

Denim Recycled Scrap to Fiber 180 dpi

My hands with recycled fiber

white tshirt

Finished product- Cotton T-shirt

The vision is for all products to be designed with future uses in mind, so materials can be 100% reused in a truly endless cycle.  By doing this, we will eliminate waste, preserve vital material resources, protect our environment, and enable everyone to consume in a more sustainable way. It all starts with making a simple change in behavior. We are excited about the impact the “Live Your Life. Save Your Planet.” recycling program will have on American Eagle Outfitters communities throughout North America. I believe each of us has the power to change our environment.  So go clean out your closet and come help us build a better world.

Recycle. Reward. Renew. Repeat.

To learn more, please visit www.ico-spirit.com.

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Earth Day: DIY

Reuse, Reduce and Recycle your #AEOStyle! To celebrate Earth Day, we spoke to Sr. Stylist, Coco Yokoyama, about her tips and tricks for turning her old AEO gear into something new. Check out her step by step guide for repurposing a pair of denim with an old scarf. The best part about this project — it’s only five easy, earth-friendly steps!

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Materials You’ll Need:

  • Pair denim pants
  • Scissors
  • Fusible fabric tape
  • Scarf or other fabric
  • Tape measure
  • Iron
  • Tracing pencil or marker
Earth Day DIY

The only materials you’ll need to make an old pair of jeans into a super cute pair of shorts!

Step 1:
Measure the length you’d like your shorts, then cut.

Earth Day DIY

Tip: Don’t go short right away, cut a little longer than you’d like so you can readjust the length if you need to.

Step 2:
The fabric will begin fraying where you cut, pull the strands to encourage fraying, then run shorts through the washer and dryer.  This will accelerate fraying and make them look vintage.

Step 3:
Place fabric on top of shorts and trace the size of the front panel, around the pocket.  Leave a bit of room on the bottom for more fraying to occur.

Earth Day DIY

Pick a scarf or fabric that will really pop.

Step 4:
Follow the instructions on the fusible fabric tape to adhere fabric to shorts

Earth Day DIY

You’re almost done!

 Step 5: 
Admire you’re new denim shorties!

Earth Day DIY

Voila! Earth friendly and super stylish #AEOStyle.

Want to find more ways to celebrate Earth Day?  Donate now to The SCA and RSVP to a community project near you!

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#HEARTTHISCITY: San Francisco

As part of Alternative Spring Break 2014, American Eagle Outfitters has teamed up with the Student Conservation Association to beautify and clean up urban parks throughout the country as part of Alternative Spring Break. We’ll bring you the story of each location throughout April. Join the movement this Spring Break and don’t just go somewhere, do something! Read on to learn more about our San Francisco project from Jean, an SCA team member.

Our volunteers arrived in droves to Golden Gate Park starting at 10am on Day One. I had nonstop registration traffic for about an hour! I loved the energy and excitement of all the volunteers. Once we did a quick introduction, we all headed out to different projects including building planter boxes, painting, cleaning around the building, planting, mulching, and weeding.

SCA Leader Teamer Marvin V. preps planter boxes.

SCA Leader Teamer Marvin V. preps planter boxes.

I took a deep breath, drink of water and led 25 volunteers into Golden Gate Park to work near Alvord Lake, spreading mulch and weeding planters along the bike path. Immediately, visitors to the park began thanking us as we worked. One man said the mulch was especially needed because “it’s gotten so dusty around these trees. It used to be so pretty. This will be great!” We even got a few thumbs up from people on tour buses as they yelled “thank you!” to us.

Right before lunch, we regrouped with everyone involved in the project and heard from some speakers. They did a great job motivating us and articulating the importance of not only conservation work, but urban conservation. Phil Ginsberg, the General Manager of San Francisco Recreation and Parks, was especially inspiring. He spoke of the need to protect urban greenspaces, to help the environment and give people a connection to nature within cities.

Christopher C. speaking on the history of Golden Gate Park.

Christopher C. speaking on the history of Golden Gate Park.

Throughout the week, we forged ahead with our projects, completing them with enthusiasm. I spoke with an SCA alum, Amanda Botsford, who said she came out to the event because she remembered how transformative her SCA experience was and she wanted to reconnect with SCA.

Working on the mural.

Working on the mural.

Throughout  the week,  I was so impressed to see volunteers working past 4pm to ensure everything was completed on time. The SCA members from Oakland and Menlo Park were a huge help cleaning up once we completed our work. It was awesome to see them in action! They embodied the spirit of volunteerism, and reminded me why I love working with SCA members.

The project was an incredible success. The park looks better than ever and we left our stamp with the colorful mural created by Chor Boogie.

Volunteers in front of the completed mural.

Volunteers in front of the completed mural.

Keep checking back for coverage of our clean up and art installations this Spring Break in New Orleans, Chicago and Pittsburgh.

Follow the SCA on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and go to AE.com/SCA to donate.

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Project Live Your Life: San Francisco – Watch Tyler in Episode 3

Project Live Your Life: San Francisco – Watch Tyler in Episode 3

Meet Tyler, a youth leader from North Bergen, NJ and winner of American Eagle Outfitters Project Live Your Life in Episode 3 of Project Live Your Life: San Francisco. During our Spring 2014 photo shoot in San Francisco, our VP of External Engagement and Corporate Responsibility, Helga, met with Tyler to give him the news of a lifetime: AEO was giving him $10,000 for his non-profit, Fit to Flow, an organization that provides support to local schools in need to enhance their theatre arts and music programs. . The catch? Our fans have to help him raise $10,000 to match our donation. How can you get involved? Visit Fit to Flow on Kickstarter and donate to Tyler’s cause to help him with the production of North Bergen High School’s musical, In The Heights. You can help Tyler make a difference in giving back to his community!

Want to make your own dreams come true with help from American Eagle Outfitters, just like Tyler? Show us how you take what we make and make it your own by joining Project Live Your Life and you could be featured in an upcoming AEO campaign. Get loves on your content to win awesome prizes, too. This week you could win an iPad Mini to help you get your big dreams off the ground!

Be sure to visit Project Live Your Life on Monday, March 3rd to see the next episode in our series and find out how much money Tyler raised for Fit to Flow.

Missed Project Live Your Life San Francisco: Episode 2? Two artists, Teren and Adria, created six original designs to be produced on an exclusive T-shirt sold by AEO. Our fans voted on which design they wanted us to sell later this spring on AE.com.

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