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Cotton Incorporated pushing for cotton's leadership in textile diaspora

"It’s always a tough challenge for cotton as it competes with synthetic fibers, and, for the past several years, cotton has been much more expensive than other fibres, points out Mark Messura, Senior Vice President – Global Supply Chain Marketing, Cotton Incorporated. In order to create an awareness of cotton fibres, Messura says, there have to be technologies and other things to make sure that retailers and brands, in particular, understand they can offer great cotton products in the kinds of styles and performance features they want with other fibers."

 

 

Cotton Incorporated pushing for cottons leadership in textile diaspora

 

It’s always a tough challenge for cotton as it competes with synthetic fibers, and, for the past several years, cotton has been much more expensive than other fibres, points out Mark Messura, Senior Vice President – Global Supply Chain Marketing, Cotton Incorporated. In order to create an awareness of cotton fibres, Messura says, there have to be technologies and other things to make sure that retailers and brands, in particular, understand they can offer great cotton products in the kinds of styles and performance features they want with other fibers.

Cotton Incorporated pushing for cottons leadership in textile

 

Brands and retailers didn’t know when the price of cotton went to $2 if it was going to $3, said Berrye Worsham, President & CEO, Cotton Incorporated. There was just so much uncertainty in the market, and that changed everything. Worsham noted cotton accounted for more than 60 per cent of the market in women’s apparel in the first quarter of 2011. Today, cotton accounts for about 40 per cent of that market segment. The good news is that for the last seven or eight quarters things have started changing for good. The cotton industry is trying to sell into a consumer market that is much more demanding than it was a few years ago. This time the fight is complicated by new trends in products such as active wear and terms like sustainability.

Positive initiatives

One of the areas Cotton Incorporated has been working on is how can cotton compete with synthetics in the performance market. The company has been taking major initiative in the last couple of years in active wear sector. The company is making sure cotton can compete as best they can at a price they can afford with technologies in this market. As a part of the initiative, Cotton Incorporated has developed a number of new technologies such as Storm Cotton, a waterproofing technology; TransDry, a moisture transfer technology; Wicking Windows, another moisture transfer feature; and Tough Cotton, which is an abrasion resistance technology. In many cases, retailers and brands adopt the technology and give it their own name. It’s all part of the process of making sure that cotton is top of mind for every step in the supply chain, says Kim Kitchings, Senior Vice President – Consumer Marketing, Cotton Incorporated.

Knowing the right approach to accomplish that takes research across all segments of the supply, and that’s what the Consumer Marketing Division at Cotton Incorporated is trying to do at a time the cotton industry has been struggling to regain markets from cheaper synthetic fibres. The environmental profile of cotton matters to groups like millennials. That makes sustainability and environmental footprints more important to marketing specialists at CI. It has also changed the way Cotton Incorporated is delivering the message about touch and feel of cotton, leading to a much greater emphasis on social media messaging and less reliance on traditional print and radio and TV advertising, according to Kitchings.

 
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