Green Apparel Trend Growing

Two thousand seven was a banner year for the green apparel industry, according to a new report from Packaged Facts, International Market for Sustainable Appare. Green apparel represents only $3 billion, a small portion of the overall $450 billion global market, but is expected to grow significantly in coming years.

Growth in this market will partly be contingent on responsible supply management for organic cotton and other fibers.

Organic cotton is the most established and widely used material in the category and accounts for about two-thirds of sales. Wal-Mart/Sam's Club is the world's largest purchaser of organic cotton fiber and is therefore a significant player in the sustainable apparel market. Many new sustainable fabrics are being introduced as designers experiment with organic wool, organic linen, bamboo, some types of silk and synthetics made from soy, corn, and recycled plastics.

"The organic apparel trend can clearly be seen at the consumer and retail level in the growing number of designers, manufacturers, and marketers making sustainable claims," notes Elaine Lipson, industry expert and author of the report. "New sustainable apparel programs are being introduced from major brands, such as Banana Republic and GUESS. Also, JCPenney has instituted a program of several degrees of sustainable labeling for a number of its private brand products, including clothing."

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