By and  on April 10, 2007

As demand increases, retailers are devoting more space to eco-conscious lines.

It's getting easier to be green.

Al Gore and friends have made global warming the cause du jour in certain circles, celebrities are driving Toyota Priuses in Hollywood and organic food products are finding their way to mainstream supermarket shelves and even Wal-Mart. Caring about the environment isn't just for treehuggers anymore. So, with their cups of fair trade coffee and cage-free egg omelettes, consumers are now reaching for clothing made from organic cotton or natural fibers such as hemp. Retailers are happy to oblige.

In March, Barneys New York unveiled Loomstate for Barneys Green, an ambitious green collection designed by Rogan Gregory, who also teamed up with Bono and his wife, Ali Hewson, to create Edun.

"Loomstate for Barneys Green is a sexier version of what we're doing in our main line," said Scott Hahn of Loomstate. "There are more dresses and edgier silhouettes, and tops have asymmetrical shapes and architectural lines."

Hahn added that, for fall, the line also will offer outerwear, organic cotton and free-range alpaca sweaters, as well as an eco jean in unwashed 100 percent vegetable-dyed cotton. "It's an authentic, raw kind of jean that's symbolic of this whole pure movement," he said.

The Loomstate for Barneys Green collection carries a hangtag signifying that both Barneys and Loomstate will donate a percentage of their sales to the 1 Percent for the Planet environmental organization.

Consumer reaction to the line has been strong. "We sold 400 pieces [of Loomstate] last week," Julie Gilhart, senior vice president and fashion director of Barneys, said late last month. "We bought a lot. There's not a style that's not selling."

The store is working hard to promote the brand, and eco-friendly apparel in general. Introducing customers to the idea of green clothing requires "a lot of education and a lot of hard work," Gilhart said. "We're doing seminars in all stores and sending out written information to sales associates." Barneys put a full-page ad for Loomstate in the New York Times and will feature it in the upcoming Co-op catalogue.

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