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Bagir Going Green

Israeli suit maker Bagir is betting the mass market is ready for eco-conscious tailored clothing with the launch of its new line Ecogir.

NEW YORK — Israeli suit maker Bagir is betting the mass market is ready for eco-conscious tailored clothing with the launch of its new line Ecogir.

While eco-correct apparel has traditionally come with a price, due to the higher costs of organic and renewable fibers, Bagir said the new line “will marry green to economical savings.”

At the collection’s heart are 100 percent polyester garments made entirely from post-consumer waste products, and they will retail for as low as $200.

“In addition to satisfying the ecological imperatives today, Ecogir is also providing a viable economical product,” said David Feig, Bagir’s vice-president of sales and marketing for the U.S.

The line, which is expected to include nested suits, separates, sport coats and slacks, could hit the market by spring 2008, with a full rollout the following fall. Bagir is shopping the line to big retailers this month, including J.C. Penney, Wal-Mart and Sears.

“We know there are stores that have a consumer base not frightened by polyester, but who are also interested in being eco-friendly,” said Feig.

Tied to the polyester collection is a fabric recycling program called Ecogir Circle that will allow consumers to send the old polyester suits back to Bagir, which will then use the fabric for new garments. The success of the program, which could reduce the carbon dioxide emitted in manufacturing a suit by 77 percent, will depend on partnerships with retailers.

The Ecogir label will also include tailored clothing in a blend of recycled polyester, wool and spandex, which will retail between $250 and $900, an average of 5 to 10 percent higher than its non-recycled counterparts. Both the polyester and poly-blend lines are machine-washable and tumble dry–friendly—which Feig said can help consumers avoid the use of toxins and chemicals associated with dry cleaning. The blended garments will also be marketed to the moderate department store and mass level.

The other part of the Ecogir initiative will be a collection of clothing made from certified organic cotton and renewable resources. Targeting the higher end of the market, the cotton suits will retail between $600 and $800.

Organic fibers have become increasingly popular among consumers, despite their higher costs. Global retail sales of organic cotton products are estimated to top $2.62 billion in 2008, up from $245 million in 2001, according to the Organic Exchange, a leading environmental advocacy group.