By  on March 13, 2008

LOS ANGELES — Guess Inc. will take its first step into the organic world by launching a capsule collection of eco-friendly denim and tops in April.

Guess Green, as the program will be called, includes a boot-cut jeans style for women and men, a T-shirt for men and a tank top for women. All items are made with organic cotton — a first for the Los Angeles-based company — though the women's jeans also include Lycra spandex to provide a slight stretch.

The dark look of the jeans is attributable to a basic rinse and softener that minimizes the use of chemicals in the treatments. The women's top is printed with a hand-drawn sketch of the earth encased in a peace sign. The men's top exhorts people to "live consciously." The Guess Green logo is printed on a bottom corner of the tops and green stitching underscores the eco-focused branding on the jeans.

Retail prices are $178 for jeans, $39 for the men's T and $29 for the women's top. The limited program will be sold at 79 of Guess' top-branded stores in the U.S. and Canada, and on its Web site. Ten percent of the proceeds will be donated to the Environmental Media Association, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization that collaborates with celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Cameron Diaz to promote awareness about the environment.

Guess is joining a growing circle of companies that are using "green" techniques to manufacture blue jeans. In addition to Loomstate, Edun and Del Forte, which base their designs on a mandate espousing sustainability, James Cured by Seun and Freedom of Choice have begun offering dungarees made with organic cotton and simpler washes.

Guess could give another boost to the trend for sustainability in fashion with its brand recognition, appeal to young customers and scale — in the nine months ended Nov. 3, the company posted net income of $131.3 million on sales of $1.17 billion.

Although Guess does not claim to be a "green" business, the company said it is slowly making changes to be more aware and set examples for other firms to follow. Last July, Guess announced plans to stop using fur in its denim and sportswear. It also has donated sales of specially made T-shirts to aid former child soldiers in Uganda."In order to protect the long-term health of the planet, while encouraging more environmental responsibility throughout the industry, we are minimizing our own impact and continuing to offer trend-setting styles," said Paul Marciano, Guess' chief executive officer and co-chairman.

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