With Guess’ foray into activewear, the brand is hitting sustainability targets

Words by Magenta Porter

A focus on fibres and textiles. 

I don’t know about you, but after wearing the same leggings and crop top for a million days straight, I’m a little bored of my activewear. So it’s been a welcome reprieve to preview a new active line launching this month, this one by iconic American label Guess.

Marking the label’s entry into the athleisure space, the Smart Guess activewear range consists of sports bras, windbreakers, shorts, leggings and sweats all noteworthy for a few reasons, not just the way they look.

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First, it’s an expansion of the brand’s current Smart Guess collection. For the unfamiliar, Smart Guess is a growing range made from environmentally conscious materials. This drop will see the introduction of eco-friendly activewear to an already eco-friendly line, which has so far consisted of styles for both everyday and occasion wear. 

Second, the line plays into a broader initiative by the brand to meet some pretty far-reaching sustainability targets. With its release, Guess is on track to successfully meet its target of ensuring 75 per cent of its assortment is Smart Guess, within the next three years.

For those playing along at home, it might not be clear why Smart Guess is such a big deal. For context, alongside a handful of key players locally (The Iconic, Elk), Guess has been one of few industry leaders to release regular sustainability reports in an effort to be more transparent around current and future practices. These reports have seen Guess realise the consequences of fibre and fabric production – that is, that it accounts for over half of the fashion industry’s negative environmental impact. As a result, Guess has set ambitious targets to include more eco-friendly Smart Guess materials, putting environmentally conscious fibres and fabrics at the centre of its designs. 

The expanded collection is built from fibres like organic cotton, recycled polyester, and Tencel ™  Lyocell and Modal, made from raw-material wood derived from sustainably managed forests that are FSC or PEFC Certified. A material called Lenzing Ecovero™ Viscose also features heavily throughout. It’s a viscose also made from sustainably managed forests and provides traceability and transparency through fibre identification.

The result is an athleisure range in gentle colours that may surprise – soft purples, sweet whites and midday blues to name a few – all bearing the iconic Guess branding. It’s all very 2021. Hoodies are oversized yet cropped; sweats are matched by shorts and trackies, birthing pastel-hued sets; everything is loose but cut immaculately around the waist. I’m sure we’ll see it on Hailey Bieber and TikTok in no time. 

As already mentioned, it joins the wider Smart Guess range, which includes a selection of more casual everyday pieces and work-appropriate styles. There are blouses, blazers and dresses, as well as a range of lyocell denim that uses at least 30 per cent less water in its manufacture. (If you’ve ever looked into how much water waste goes into producing denim, it’s an appealing alternative.)

In an age of increased greenwashing, Guess seems to be genuine in its approach to sustainability. The company requires third-party verification on all company sustainability reports, introducing accountability as well as transparency to its behind-the-scenes operations. 

Its 2030 sustainability targets aren’t modest, either. They include a 50 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and a 30 per cent reduction in supply chain emissions, the removal of virgin synthetic fibres and materials from all products and packaging, and the implementation of a circular product and business model.

The latest figures show Guess’ commitment to a greener future has had real results. The brand has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 10% per square foot, achieved gender pay parity at its company headquarters and across retail operations.

Yet it hasn’t compromised on style. Today, the ‘it’ brand of the ’90s continues to redefine fashion as we know it, proving that even the most established, heritage brands can make a positive change for our planet. 

The Smart Guess collection is now available in Guess stores across the country or shop online here.

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