Cotton, the fabric of our lives, has some major competition from synthetic fabric markets which may offer more economical options when cotton prices see spikes. But are those synthetic fibers actually offering more for your consumer buck? Bob Stanley with the Cotton Board said that they've teamed up with Cotton Incorporated to help educate retailers and consumers of some real advantages cotton offers.
"Whenever cotton prices got really high two years ago, a lot of people started substituting synthetics into garments," Stanley said. "Now we're getting a lot of information back from consumer surveys that they're not liking the garments as well now that they are less cotton content. The garments aren't lasting as well, they're not as comfortable."
Besides the obvious added comfort cotton brings to clothing, some new and innovating research technologies have molded cotton blend fabrics into smart options for athletes, hunters, and outdoors men, keeping them warm, dry and comfortable.
"Our feature item that we're showing at this year's show is a new product from Cabela's," Stanley said. "You know everybody loves Cabela's gear and they love the camouflage. This is utilizing our storm cotton technology. This particular garment is made out of 80% cotton, 20% polyester and as the hang tag says here it says stay dry and comfortable, water repellent, breathable, and dries faster."
The Lubbock-based Cotton Board and Cotton Incorporated are even behind some of the research that went in to Under Armour gear, an ever-popular choice by athletes for its moisture wicking and sweat fighting abilities. The new camo sweatshirt seen here uses that same concept for hunters.
"We're going to get our hunter a little wet like he was out in the duck blind. As you can see the water just beads up and runs right off the garment, so he stays clean and dry while he's out hunting," Stanley said.
Besides fighting the wind, cold and rain, this sweatshirt also keeps the consumer comfortable on the inside.
"It's very good about shedding water, but unlike if you were in a nylon rain jacket, you'd be sweaty and clammy and uncomfortable, this has got the comfort of cotton," Stanley said. "It's a fleece lining on the inside so you stay comfortable but you're also staying completely dry inside the garment."
And since the cotton industry really does go full circle from field to fiber, Stanley said that they are pleased to have great relationships with smart retailers like Under Armour and Cabela's, companies that are dedicated to offering the latest cotton technologies to provide superior products to their customers.
"We're really glad whenever we can get some of our technologies into the market place with people that are good retailers," Stanley said. "This particular garment here is a hoodie, so he can pull his hood up and stay dry and it's also available in a quarter zip pullover. These products are in the Cabela's stores and also available on the Cabela's website."
The Cotton Board and Cotton Incorporated are constantly involved in research and development to keep improving cotton end products. Consumer research as well as consumer education and cotton promotion are a big part of what they do.