Sunday, March 20, 2005

Cause marketing: eco-wear

The New York Times reports on FutureFashion, a fashion show sponsored by Earth Pledge, a nonprofit group that promotes environmental programs. It challenged designers to create fashion using only fabrics that were renewable, reusable or generated less pollution than conventional material.

Organic food and beauty products have become a $15 billion industry. Organic fiber clothes are much smaller ($85 million retail for organic cotton in 2003), but interest is growing. The designer Rogan Gregory will introduce organic cotton denim clothing under the Loomstate label in high-end stores such as Barneys and Fred Segal this month. For the more cost-conscious shopper, Sam's Club will start selling 100 percent organic cotton active wear by Chaus at its 550 stores this month, with prices starting at $10. Whole Foods began selling organic cotton clothes and linens from more than 10 companies early this month.

"Green" is a fine niche market for smaller retailers. There's a large group of consumers out there who want organic products and very little competition amongst retailers.

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