The Gap Goes Organic-Cotton Pickin'


Strolling past a Gap store display one fine wintery day, I turned to my husband, and with teeth a-chatter, said, "GaaahgurrrbufRbrrr," which translated into: "My word, with all this khaki going on this season with the Gap, what a splendid opportunity it would be for them to experiment with undyed organic cotton."

Apparently, some bigwig sitting in his warm, cozy office thought so, too. The 500-plus Gap stores in North America have started carrying organic-cotton T-shirts for men—unbleached, and without adding any chemical dyes.The shirts come in three styles—crew-neck, v-neck, and tank—and will retail for $16.50 apiece. The Gap decided to introduce them "in response to growing customer demand and as part of the company's commitment to finding innovative, socially responsible ways to make its products," according to a press release.

Chalk that up as one small victory for the Organic Consumers Association, which has been rallying for the Gap to eliminate genetically engineered cotton from its clothing products, while blending in organic or transitional organic cotton, as part of its Clothes for a Change campaign.

The Gap is also a member of the Better Cotton Initiative, which promotes more-sustainable cotton cultivation practices worldwide, with the goal of making "measurable reductions" in cotton's environmental impacts. (It takes one-third of a pound of pesticides and chemical fertilizers to make one conventional cotton T-shirt.)

Additional styles are in the pipeline for upcoming seasons. Maybe the Gap's BFF Bono can use his clout to get the company to make the shirts fair trade, as well, since an organic label doesn't automatically guarantee labor rights—something the Gap's press release only mentions in passing.

Other than that? Well played, Gap. Well played. :: Gap Inc.