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Earnest Sewn Gets Organic

The New York premium denim brand will launch Greencaste by Earnest Sewn in November, a line developed exclusively for Barneys New York as part of the retailer's "Have a Green Holiday" marketing campaign.

Earnest Sewn is getting into organics for the holidays.

The New York premium denim brand will launch Greencaste by Earnest Sewn in November, a line developed exclusively for Barneys New York as part of the retailer’s “Have a Green Holiday” marketing campaign.

Scott Morrison, president and designer of Earnest Sewn, said discussions with Barneys had spurred the project. Morrison said he initially was reluctant because he believed that many green initiatives from brands and retailers fall short of delivering a truly socially responsible product. He stressed the need to go further than simply using organic denim.

“If you’re just going to buy organic fabric, that’s not even half the battle,” Morrison said.

Washing and styling denim has always been a water- and chemical-intensive process. For Greencaste, Morrison worked with the brand’s laundry facility on ways to reduce the environmental impact.

“The obvious one was eliminating electricity and gas needed for drying,” he said.

Instead, the brand’s Kentucky washhouse hung the jeans from its rafters. Detergents have been replaced with more environmentally friendly washing agents, and peroxide and ozone have been used instead of chlorine bleach. All-natural starches have taken the place of more commonly used resins in the wash process.

A way was even found to return resources in better condition than they were found.

“You use a lot of water in the process,” Morrison said. “The Kentucky facility that we use uses river water, which is fairly dirty water. We use it, clean it up and return it in a cleaner state than when we used it.”

The collection will be launched with three men’s and women’s styles and will retail for $200 to $240. Morrison plans to continue the line beyond the holiday season. He credited Barneys for pushing vendors to become more socially aware and believes it will show many of them that they can begin to implement small changes more easily than they expected.

“It’s great to see people who can command this type of effort, like Barneys,” Morrison said. “That’s how change will be implemented, not so much by force but with a gentle nudge.