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The popularity of organic products stretches beyond pesticide-free food to include clothing as well. Fashion companies produce the same clothes but use eco-friendly fabrics and factories to make them. Major retailers embracing green products include Target Corp., Limited Brands Inc.’s Victoria’s Secret, H&M, and Nike.

Marketing for green products increases consumer awareness and demand, especially those from high-end designers such as Stella McCartney and celebrities such as U2’s Bono. The cost to produce green products is slightly higher, but customers often are willing to pay 20% more for these products; for example, Levi’s Co. offers its “green” Red Tab jeans for $68, compared with $40 for its non-organic jeans.

Clothing production, especially for cotton products, involves an enormous amount of pesticides that end up in the environment. In contrast, organic factories use rice husks as fuel and rotate organic cotton crops on acreage that otherwise produces organic food. Although food markets were the first to catch on to organic trends, clothing, hybrid cars, and homes are following suit and becoming organic as well.

Because buying organic clothing no longer means compromising fashion, consumers have become far more likely to buy it.  The added value from organic clothing gives customers a choice: They may spend more to be environmentally positive. As celebrities and high-end designers endorse healthy products for a healthy environment, consumers follow their lead and embrace organic fashion as the cool thing to do.

Discussion Questions:

1. Why is organic clothing becoming more mainstream?

2. How are organic fashions priced?  Do they convey good value?

“Organic Clothing—Not Just For Hippies Anymore,” Dow Jones News, February 09, 2007.