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Green might be one of Australia’s national colors (the other is gold) but, to date, eco-awareness hasn’t been a national fashion priority.
This story first appeared in the October 30, 2007 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Melbourne-based Lisa Gorman hopes to change that. In June, Gorman became the first mainstream Australian fashion designer to launch an organic range. A subbrand to her eight-year-old Gorman line, which boasts a $4.5 million retail sales volume, Gorman Organic is a line of basics made from fibers and yarns that are either organically produced or grown wild and harvested using environmentally sensitive methods.
The 15-piece collection uses 100 percent certified organic Indian or Turkish cotton and Thai bamboo. Comprised of tanks, Ts, pajamas, hoodies and underwear in unbleached white, gray mélange, black, yellow and blue, prices start at $16 for underwear and run up to $115 for a hoodie. Pieces are manufactured in Vietnam, while printing is done in Australia using environmentally sustainable ink.
The line is sold in Gorman’s five Australian boutiques and wholesaled to 15 stores nationally, as well as in Japan.
Organics are crossing over into Gorman’s main business as well. The designer has used organic denim for her main line’s current denim capsule collection, and in January will launch an organic jeans line, Jean Green, which uses 100 percent organic cotton, dye and materials. Priced from $151 to $222, styles include a zip pocket jean with slim legs; wide-leg, high-waist flares, and skirts.
“Often, organic products are a bit ‘hippie,'” said Gorman, who is also working to make her business carbon neutral by 2008. “If you can make something that looks as good as it was ever going to look, organic or otherwise, and you offer it in sustainable fabrics and dyes, the choice is simple, [customers] feel like they’re doing something good. We’ve got people coming in now because they know we do organic.”