Haggar Uses Sustainable Materials in 100 Percent of Garments

Since its launch in 1926, Haggar has been ahead of the curve. The men's wear brand introduced the term "slacks" in 1938; it was the first apparel company to use EDI, the first to use bar codes, and the first to advertise on TV. Haggar invented the "Haggar Hanger," which allowed pants to be sold on hangers, invented and patented the size strip, and was one of the first national brands to market and sell wrinkle-free cotton pants and suit separates.

And last year, Haggar Clothing Co. became the first company to launch a mainstream apparel brand committed to using sustainable materials in 100 percent of its garments when it introduced LK Life KhakiTM, an eco-friendly lifestyle collection. The khakis that the brand first launched with use a blend of cotton and Repreve, a recycled polyester from Unifi, and the use of sustainable materials continues with the introduction of casual shirts, jackets and other collection items.

In the fall, Haggar officially kicked off the collection with a new ad campaign that has attracted a customer about 12 years younger than Haggar's traditional customer with its multiple fits (slim, straight and relaxed) and styles — and its message of sustainability. "Today, LK Life Khaki represents 15 percent of Haggar's total business and is still growing," says Tad Parnell, senior vice president of sales. "We have seen the brand's favorability ratings soar as the customer has continued to embrace the product and the overall concept. What started as a bottoms offering has grown into a full top-to-bottom collection."

The collection is "appropriate for all age levels, but the 30-something has really clicked with the quality and style of the product, loves the fit options and respects our stand on sustainability with the fabrics that we use," he says.

Haggar's use of sustainable materials actually started two years prior to the introduction of LK Life Khaki with the Smart Fiber dress trousers of its core Haggar brand, also made with Repreve from Unifi. Nancy Dowling, vice president of design and merchandising, says she started utilizing Repreve both because of the sustainable nature of the fiber and its great hand and wearability.

"Its initial success in Haggar encouraged us to launch the LK Life Khaki collection and commit to using a minimum of 30 percent to 40 percent sustainable materials within each garment," she says. The two brands combined have rescued 80 million water bottles from landfills.

She's quick to point out, though, that when LK Life Khaki was introduced, the fact that it was born through the use of sustainable fibers was secondary.

"Primarily it was a great-feeling, greatfitting khaki that the customer loved and continues to love. We continually get feedback from customers telling us that they loved their first pair so much that they are buying second, third, and fourth pairs. Now that we are going back and reminding them that they are actually doing good by purchasing a product that rescues seven water bottles from landfills — per pair — they love it even more."

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