By  on July 18, 2007

Jones New York is jumping on the hybrid bandwagon with a green-friendly new line.

J Jones New York will launch for spring as a casual and "eco-influenced" addition to the JNY family.

"With Jones at 35, it's always important to continue to evolve the brand," said Lynne Cote, chief executive officer of wholesale for sportswear, suits and dresses at Jones Apparel Group Inc. "It's a more relaxed way of dressing, different from the more tailored clothing Jones is known for."

J offers three sub-lines, each with a different level of focus on the eco-friendly premise. Pure, which is projected to make up 10 percent of the line's sales, is 100 percent organic. Smart, which will make up the bulk of product, uses organic fabrics but also includes non-organics like Lycra. Simple, projected to make up another 10 percent, doesn't use organic fabrics, but rather fits into the line's premise through the casual chic style.

"It really is about fashion first," Cote said. "She's not willing to give up the look to go green, and we don't believe fashion has evolved so much that we can be 100 percent green with everything, so we are focusing on the fabrics."

Not all of the fabrics are organic, although eco-friendly fabrics include 100 percent organic cotton, bamboo jersey and recycled polyesters.

The line channels a social responsibility theme similar to the Jones New York in the Classroom initiative. "Consumers are worried about classrooms and the future of our children, and they are also worried about the future of the environment," said Stacy Lastrina, executive vice president of marketing and creative services.

The casual collection also features three product classifications: "Essentials" is made of five or six travel-friendly basics, like yoga pants and leggings, mostly in neutral colors. "Spa wear" includes more colors and a few more detailed pieces. The third, "Classification category," includes more fabric variations and more complicated pants and jackets.

The line is priced between Jones New York's Sport and Signature lines at the opening price points for better, starting around $10 wholesale for a tank and going as much as about $75 for jackets.Expected to launch at 300 to 400 doors this spring, J is projected to match the other Jones New York lines in volume within a few years. All of the Jones New York brands together net $1 billion in wholesale sales. Jones is talking to retailers that carry other JNY lines, including Dillard's and Macy's.

The marketing spend on the line will match that of the Jones New York Signature launch, though the company declined to provide numbers.

After the disclosure last week that Jones Apparel Group veteran Wesley R. Card would replace Peter Boneparth as president and chief executive officer of the $4.74 billion vendor, Cote dismissed speculation that Card could be positioning the company for another go at being sold.

"We know we are here to stay, and we are not putting a 'for sale' sign out," Cote said. "We wouldn't be investing in this brand like we are if we weren't confident."

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