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Ethical lines to mark Fairtrade Fortnight

High street retailers are emphasising their commitment to ethical fashion by launching a raft of fair trade clothing ranges next week to mark Fairtrade Fortnight.

The event, from February 25 to March 9, will see Marks & Spencer, Topshop and Tesco unveil new ethical collections.

M&S will introduce Fairtrade-certified cotton to its Limited Collection sub-brand for the first time, including a T-shirt dress for £15 and a bag for £12, with model Lily Cole fronting the campaign. The retailer will also launch a range of recycled denim.

M&S head of corporate social responsibility Mike Barry said: ““The majority of the Fairtrade-certified cotton we’ve used so far has been across our core ranges, such as T-shirts, vests and jeans. This year, for the first time, we’re delighted to introduce fair trade cotton products to Limited Collection, our most fashion-forward range.”

Meanwhile, Topshop is to unveil a 36-piece collection made from fair trade cotton next week. The range, which will go into 30 stores, includes a frilly-sleeved T-shirt in eight different colours at £14. It also features long-line T-shirts with chunky zips for £18, denim hotpants at £25, striped jersey scarves at £15, woven waistcoats for £32 and charcoal jackets at £45.

Tesco will also unveil a fair trade denim range just after Fairtrade Fortnight, with the men’s jeans collection going into stores on March 10 and the women’s range of jeans and shorts hitting shops on April 21.

During Fairtrade Fortnight, the supermarket will offer a buy one, get one free promotion on its spring 08 fair trade cotton ranges, including a Stone Bay men’s polo shirt and two styles of women’s T-shirts.

Tesco introduced fair trade cotton to its Cherokee, F&F and Stone Bay brands this spring, and expects to sell between 15 million and 20 million fair trade garments this year, making it the second biggest buyer of fair trade cotton behind M&S.

Debenhams’ fair trade cotton menswear range, a tie-up with Olympic champion Sir Steve Redgrave, will also launch during the fortnight.
According to the Fairtrade Foundation, the fair trade cotton market was worth £45 million in 2007, up from £6m in 2006.

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