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Home > Feature Articles > Fashion for Eco-friendly Design & Manufacturing

Target Eco-Fashion Line & the New Eco-Fashion Trend

Eco-fashion is coming to Mainstreet America with top designers coupled with mass merchandising clout.

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Target Corp. is introducing its first line of eco-friendly apparel.

The Minneapolis-based retailer commissioned 60 exclusive pieces from Rogan Gregory, a designer at the forefront of the eco-fashion movement. Mr. Gregory uses 100% certified organic cotton and other natural fibers, such as silk and linen, in his collections that are typically sold at Barneys and Bloomingdale's. He recently won the Council of Fashion Designers of America/Vogue Fashion Fund award for promising new designers.

The collection for Target is a way to make the organics-apparel movement more democratic by making it more affordable to the masses. Fabrics made from natural fibers and 100% certified organic cotton cost 15% more than nonorganic fabrics, while finished garments generally carry a 5% premium.

It's also part of a wider trend of discounters experimenting in eco-fashion.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., for example, sells T-shirts from organic cotton. But such fashions also have raised concerns about greenwashing, with critics suggesting the products may not be as environmentally sensitive as they're portrayed. For example, fast-growing bamboo is touted as an eco-friendly material for textiles, but the process required to turn the tough plant into fabric takes a significant amount of energy and chemicals.

Target's buying power allows the designer to sell his collection there for less, while still using more "dynamic fabrics" that have been a barrier in the past because of mill requirements for volume minimums. Target leveraged its volume to get what it wanted.

Designs in the Target collection feature less hardware, sophisticated construction and embellishments than pricier lines.

SOURCE: Wall Street Journal

The appeal for Barneys is less clear cut. "Doing things that are interesting, new and novel is what Barneys is about," said Julie Gilhart, women's fashion director at Barneys. She green-lighted the project in part because it dovetails with the luxury emporium's own emphasis this year on green fashions.

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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