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Banana Republic is going back to its roots — and turning them green in the process. For summer 2009 the company will launch the Heritage for Women collection, which creative director and executive vice president of design Simon Kneen describes as “signature sportswear for the really modern attitude.” The Heritage collection (already part of Banana Republic’s men’s wear) will incorporate the year-old Green collection. Kneen calls Heritage a “sexy” approach to classic Banana Republic style, but its distinguishing characteristic is that roughly 90 percent of it is environmentally sustainable. “We needed to define what green was and how it wasn’t just something that would just sit outside of any collection,” says Kneen of the decision to absorb the Green line into Heritage.

This story first appeared in the January 15, 2009 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Organic cotton, soy silk and bamboo are among the materials used in Heritage’s eco looks, some of which were shown in Banana Republic’s spring-summer runway show last October and can be identified by the green elephant logo. The company is also using more recycled materials in its packaging and modifying its denim treatment process so that its laundry facilities can comply with the Business for Social Responsibility’s clean water guidelines.

“Sustainability is something we’d like to build across the whole collection.” And while the price points ($39 to $150) are in line with the company’s core collection, as Kneen sees it, “Sustainability is the new luxury.”