Category: Supply Chain Insights

NACDS, 2024 Total Store Expo Product Showcase Features Cotton Brands

Cotton Incorporated Sponsored Product Showcase Highlights the Seal of Cotton Trademark

Monthly Economic Letter: May 2024

All benchmark prices decreased over the past month.

Executive Cotton Update May 2024

The Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee met in early May and decided to hold interest rates at the level it has maintained since July 2023. The decision to hold rates steady was not a surprise after a string of officials highlighted a cautious approach after inflation readings ticked a little higher early in the year.

New Updates to the Virtual Showroom Natural Collection

Immerse yourself in environmentally conscious fashion and discover the benefits of natural dyes and lower-impact finishing techniques. In our latest update to the CottonWorks™ Virtual Showroom’s Natural Collection, we present small groups of fabrics featuring more sustainable dyeing and finishing...

Cotton Incorporated Features New Sustainable Mineral Pigments

In the fashion industry, sustainability is more than just a buzzword – it’s a key factor in consumer purchasing decisions. As consumers increasingly demand more environmentally conscious practices, the industry is undergoing a shift towards more sustainable alternatives. Cotton Incorporated...

Monthly Economic Letter: April 2024

Cotton benchmarks either decreased or were steady over the past month.

Recent Webinar | Beneath the Currents: Advancing the Understanding of Cotton and Synthetic Microfiber Impact

This webinar explores the intersection of the earth’s natural cycles, cotton sustainability, and the impact of microfiber emissions on aquatic environments, leading into a focused examination of recent aquatic microfiber biodegradability research from NC State University.

Executive Cotton Update April 2024

The U.S. labor market continues to add jobs at a solid pace, with the latest addition coming in above projections. Recent inflation readings have also been coming in above expectations. The Federal Reserve’s mandate requires the pursuit of both low unemployment and the maintenance of inflation near two percent.

Embracing Circularity: A Sustainable Future for Apparel

The concept of circularity has gained significant relevance in recent years, as the demand for sustainably produced garments remains a priority for brands and consumers. While consumer definitions of what the term  “circularity” means to them vary, most consumers do...

Recent Webinar | Considerations for Flatbed Knit Design

Listen in as Cotton Incorporated’s Senior Economist Jon Devine discusses forecasts for planted acreage in the U.S. and around the world and analyzes the production outlook for 2023/24.

Executive Cotton Update March 2024

Expectations regarding interest rate cuts by the Federal Reserve have been pared back and projected further into the future. Several months ago, it was anticipated that the central bank could begin lowering interest rates as soon as this month and that as many as five interest rate decreases were possible in 2024. Indications are now that rate cuts may not start until June and that only three rate decreases appear more likely.

Monthly Economic Letter: March 2024

All cotton benchmarks increased over the past month.

Innovative Technologies Add Top Performance to Cotton’s Many Benefits

Consumers, brands, and retailers alike already appreciate cotton for its comfortable feel and classic look, but advances in technology are also enhancing cotton’s performance in moisture management, durability, and environmental impact. Cotton is a durable, natural fiber with superior breathability...

Recent Webinar | Making the Case for Digital Product Creation

Listen in as Cotton Incorporated’s Senior Economist Jon Devine discusses forecasts for planted acreage in the U.S. and around the world and analyzes the production outlook for 2023/24.

Executive Cotton Update February 2024

The U.S. economy defied expectations of a recession in 2023.

Monthly Economic Letter: February 2024

Most cotton benchmarks increased over the past month.

Cotton Incorporated Sponsored Product Showcase Highlights the Seal of Cotton Trademark

The demand for sustainable products is on the rise, and Cotton Incorporated is highlighting the benefits of cotton at Natural Products Expo West, a trade event leading the way in the natural, organic, and healthy products industry.1 Cotton Incorporated’s sponsored...

Monthly Economic Letter: January 2024

Most cotton benchmarks were flat over the past month. Pakistani prices increased.

Executive Cotton Update January 2024

The holiday shopping period generally fell in line with expectations. After an erratic set of years following the pandemic, the National Retail Federation (NRF) predicted the increase for the 2023 holiday sales season could be +3- 4%, which is near the longer-term range for growth.

Cotton: A Sustainable Fashion Textile

Why Is Sustainable Fashion Important? From start to finish and everywhere in between, there’s room for improvement when it comes to the lifecycle of clothing. One prime place to make a difference? Reducing the 60% share of synthetics in clothing...

Luxury Sweaters for Real Life: How Cotton Competes with ‘Traditional’ High-End Fibers

During the cold winter months, consumers who want an elevated look often tend to seek out traditional luxury fibers such as cashmere, Merino wool, fur or other animal fibers. While often overlooked, cotton is a natural fiber that’s making its...

Five Reasons Why Winter Activewear Needs More Cotton 

For many of us, the desire to be outdoors and active doesn’t stop when the seasons change. Therefore, many consumers are starting to demand more from the performance of their activewear, extending beyond just moisture management and odor resistance. 

Executive Cotton Update December 2023

Mixed signals surfaced for the U.S. economy over the past month. After a surprisingly strong GDP figure (+4.9% in the third quarter) came a weaker number for job growth (+150,000 in October, which was about half the value of +297,000 posted for September). The slowdown in hiring last month was affected by the strike by autoworkers. The strike appears to be near a conclusion, and it might be a distortive factor for employment numbers again whenever strikers return to work.

Monthly Economic Letter: December 2023

Cotton benchmarks were flat or slightly lower over the past month.

Cotton Forward: 3D Fashion Design Challenge

Are you a student or a recent graduate with a passion for fashion and a flair for the future? We invite you to unleash your creativity with the world's most loved fiber: cotton.

Executive Cotton Update November 2023

Mixed signals surfaced for the U.S. economy over the past month. After a surprisingly strong GDP figure (+4.9% in the third quarter) came a weaker number for job growth (+150,000 in October, which was about half the value of +297,000 posted for September). The slowdown in hiring last month was affected by the strike by autoworkers. The strike appears to be near a conclusion, and it might be a distortive factor for employment numbers again whenever strikers return to work.

New CottonWorks™ Virtual Showroom Updates: Denim

The CottonWorks virtual showroom has seen some exciting new updates to its trend section - which now features a collection dedicated to cutting-edge garments and fabrics in the world of denim.

Recent Webinar | Digital Product Creation: Standards and Implementation

Successful Digital Product Creation (DPC) adoption requires an understanding of industry standards and effective workflows.

Monthly Economic Letter: September 2023

Cotton benchmarks moved higher and then lower over the past month. Current values for most prices are near those posted one month ago.

Executive Cotton Update September 2023

Job gains have decelerated in recent months. However, the U.S. economy has held up better than was generally feared when inflation was surging and interest rates started climbing sharply higher.

Introducing RESTech COTTON™ Technology

Cotton Incorporated introduces RESTech COTTON™ technology, a performance sheeting solution.

The Biggest Industry Disruptors Revealed at ITMA 2023

Members of the Cotton Incorporated team recently returned from ITMA 2023, an influential textile and garment technology exhibition. Held once every four years, ITMA is where key industry decision-makers gather to showcase the latest textile and garment processing technologies, machinery, and materials.

Monthly Economic Letter: August 2023

The NY/ICE December contract pushed through resistance near 82 cents/lb around the middle of July. With the USDAS’s reduction to its U.S. production forecast, December prices climbed to levels near 90 cents/lb.

Introducing the New CottonWorks™ Virtual Showroom

Now is the time to explore the CottonWorks™ Virtual Showroom and discover the future of cotton through an innovative digital experience. Download free, digital fabric files to bring garment ideas and designs to life, and stay ahead of the “fashion game” by regularly visiting our platform for the latest trends and technologies in the world of cotton.

NACDS, Total Store Expo Product Showcase Features Cotton Brands

Since it was established in 1973, Cotton Incorporated’s Seal of Cotton trademark has grown into an iconic household brand. And with 50 years of marketing support from Cotton Incorporated, it’s no wonder that 8 in 10 consumers recognize the trademark and trust it to identify natural, reliable, and hypoallergenic products.

Monthly Economic Letter: July 2023

Over the past month, the NY/ICE December contract continued to trade sideways within the range between 77 and 85 cents/lb that has contained values since late November 2022. There was a test of the lower end of that range (closing prices dropped to 77.9 cents/lb on June 26th, which was the lowest level since December 2022)

Executive Cotton Update July 2023

A range of measures can be used to track inflation. The Federal Reserve most closely follows an inflation rate called the personal consumption expenditure price index (PCE index). PCE index data are published with a longer lag than CPI numbers (the CPI and the PCE index are published by separate government agencies), but the latest readings indicate that inflation continues to fall.

Executive Cotton Update June 2023

The outlook for the U.S. economy remains clouded by uncertainty. Arguments suggesting a slowdown find support from persistent inflation and the steepest increases in interest rates in a generation. Arguments suggesting continued growth find support from a strong labor market and a resilient consumer.

Monthly Economic Letter: June 2023

After three years of drought, significant rainfall finally arrived in West Texas. In certain areas, precipitation was heavy enough to cause flooding. While flooding may have a detrimental impact on some farm operations, the arrival of rain has already caused projections for abandonment to decrease.

Recent Webinar | Closing the Loop: Cotton Composting for a Circular Textile Economy

Listen in as Cotton Incorporated’s Senior Economist Jon Devine discusses forecasts for planted acreage in the U.S. and around the world and analyzes the production outlook for 2023/24.

Monthly Economic Letter: May 2023

There has been renewed concern about 2022/23 production recently. The current focus of attention is India, where arrivals at gins are significantly behind the pace from one year ago. There has been speculation that Indian growers may be withholding volume in hopes of securing better prices, but the breadth of the gap has given root to worry that the Indian crop may end up being smaller than currently forecast.

Executive Cotton Update May 2023

After a meeting in early May, Federal Reserve officials decided to make its tenth increase in interest rates since March of last year. The speed and magnitude of the change in interest rates presented a series of challenges to business practices. Financing costs have risen sharply across all industries, and a focus on cost-cutting has already led to layoffs at several large corporations.

Monthly Economic Letter: April 2023

For cotton, a steep correction in demand has been underway for several months. As concerns about the trajectory of economic growth mounted toward the second half of 2022, order volumes collapsed. However, consumer spending did not drop as was feared. Although uncertainty remains for the future, inflation-adjusted U.S. consumer spending has held at levels 25% higher than in 2019.

Executive Cotton Update April 2023

Uncertainty surrounding the trajectory of U.S. economic growth persists. The labor market continues to add jobs, and wages continue to rise at rates higher than those experienced in the decade following the financial crisis. Inflation also remains higher than the rates experienced in the decade following the financial crisis. As a result, the Federal Reserve has continued to boost interest rates (the Federal Funds rate was increased another 0.25 points in late March).

Recent Webinar: Cotton Market Outlook: Calm After the Storm?

Listen in as Cotton Incorporated’s Senior Economist Jon Devine discusses forecasts for planted acreage in the U.S. and around the world and analyzes the production outlook for 2023/24.

Promoting Soil Health Practices in Cotton Production

In this Q&A session, we spoke with Dr. Gaylon Morgan, the director of Agricultural Research at Cotton Incorporated with 22 years of experience in applied cotton research, to learn more about the benefits of soil health practices for cotton production, how they can be implemented and how they impact brands and retailers. 

Executive Cotton Update March 2023

The persistently strong labor market continues to defy the expected effects of the Federal Reserve’s increases in interest rates. The economy added a high number of jobs again last month, and the unemployment rate remains at a historically low level. With unemployment low, employers face more competition for qualified candidates, and that can put upward pressure on wages.

Monthly Economic Letter: March 2023

The trajectory of the global economy looms large. The latest data releases indicate inflation has yet to be cured, which may mean interest rates will have to climb higher. Meanwhile, labor markets have proven resilient, consumers still have savings from the stimulus, and COVID has faded as a pressing threat. Geopolitical developments are unknowable but may prove influential.

The Benefits of Digital Fabric—Making Fashion Design Easier, More Efficient

These days, more and more of our actions and activities are transitioning to digital and electronic methods—and the worlds of fashion and textile design are no exception. The use of digital fabrics can lead to greater efficiencies for the fashion industry by reducing designers’ reliance on physical samples, accelerating design timelines, and providing more opportunities to experiment with new ideas in less time.

The Facts About Cotton in Tampons

With a dwindling tampon supply trending in the news over the past year, rumors of a cotton shortage took hold. It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a substantial impact on the global supply chain across many product categories. However, when it comes to tampons, cotton use and availability are not to blame. Here are the facts.

Monthly Economic Letter: February 2023

There are several potential signals that a turnaround in business conditions could be emerging. In its latest round of updates, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) lifted projections for global economic growth in 2023 and 2024. While growth is still expected to be sluggish, the reversal in the direction of the updates may be notable.

Executive Cotton Update February 2023

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) released an updated set of global estimates for economic growth in late January. The headline for the report was “Inflation Peaking Amid Low Growth”, suggesting that while a major challenge for the global economy may be fading, another remains.

Executive Cotton Update January 2023

The unemployment rate remains safely below four percent and is low by historical standards. Although it has not been able to surpass inflation, wage growth has been steady near five percent, beyond anything registered in the decade between the financial crisis and the onset of COVID. Nonetheless, inflation has been increasing faster than wages since the first quarter of 2021, implying that consumer spending power has been falling despite higher income.

Monthly Economic Letter: December 2022

Given widespread reports of a slowdown in mill demand, the decrease to USDA consumption this month could have been anticipated. China is central to global cotton demand, and the continued inversion of traditional relationships between Chinese prices and other benchmarks may signal that a global recovery in demand is not yet underway.

Executive Cotton Update: December 2022

The U.S. labor market continues to add jobs and support wage growth. This may give the Federal Reserve more room to continue to aggressively increase interest rates to tame inflation. For this reason, financial markets turned lower after the positive job report.

Monthly Economic Letter: November 2022

The recent volatility in NY/ICE futures has been attributed to various factors, including short covering in the futures market and import interest from China. The steep increases in early November can also be interpreted as a sensitivity to potential increases in demand for U.S. exports.

Executive Cotton Update: November 2022

The U.S. economy was estimated to have added 261,000 jobs last month. This was the lowest addition since December 2020, but job growth has nonetheless remained resilient to interest rate increases.

Onward Reserve launches PUREPRESS™ Technology

Who has time to worry about wrinkled clothing? If you’re looking for the perfect, easy-care Chino pant, look no further. Onward Reserve has launched its men’s City Chinos featuring PUREPRESS™ technology.

Cotton Sustainability Summit Calls for Industry Collaboration to Create Change

About 100 buyers, designers, and sustainability officers with major fashion brands and retailers joined sustainability luminaries and experts in soil health, supply chain, circularity, and cotton agriculture at the 2022 Cotton Sustainability Summit. 

Cotton’s Unique Role in the Carbon Equation

Carbon is a perennially hot topic in the cotton industry. It has a unique role in the carbon equation, as cotton plants naturally—and very efficiently—sequester carbon in the soil and in the fiber itself.

Executive Cotton Update: October 2022

A major development in the global economy has been a steep increase in the value of the U.S. dollar. As U.S. interest rates increased relative to those in other markets over the past several months, it made investment in dollar-denominated assets more attractive and the resulting influx of money caused the dollar to strengthen.

Monthly Economic Letter: October 2022

Price decreases over the past month indicate that demand-related concerns have been winning the contest between the competing storylines involving a weaker downstream outlook and lower production expectations in a couple key cotton-growing countries.

3 Ways Cotton is Committed to a Sustainable Future

October 7 is World Cotton Day, a global celebration of the world’s most important natural fiber. The U.S. cotton industry is leading the way for sustainability research, climate-smart collaboration, and industry innovation that benefits the environment, farmers, and consumers alike.

The Latest Denim Trends from Cotton Incorporated’s Trend Forecasters

Staying on top of fashion trends is a must for designers, manufacturers, and retailers alike. Yet, predicting the future of fashion is a tricky business that requires the perfect blend of research and expertise. Even for a tried-and-true fabric staple like denim, trends in how the fabric is made, worn, and styled have evolved and will continue to change over time.

Carhartt launches TOUGH COTTON™ Technology

Carhartt has launched the perfect everyday leggings featuring TOUGH COTTON™ technology. Made with 95% cotton, they’re a perfect blend of tough and comfortable and are available in toddler and girls' sizing.

Cotton Incorporated x Adobe Substance 3D Collaboration

Cotton Incorporated and Adobe collaborated to demonstrate and showcase a new material workflow using Adobe Substance 3D applications, designed to unify digital and physical materials.

Cotton Industry Collaborates to Receive USDA Grant for U.S. Cotton Smart Commodity Program

Cotton Incorporated is honored to collaborate with industry leaders to focus on increasing the adoption of climate-smart agriculture practices, as part of the USDA Partnership for Climate Smart Commodities pilot projects.

Monthly Economic Letter: September 2022

The decline in Chinese prices relative to those from the rest of the world may affect trade in the new crop year. China is normally the world’s largest importer of both cotton fiber and yarn. However, significantly lower domestic prices encourage consumption of domestically grown fiber and should discourage imports.

Executive Cotton Update: September 2022

In recent comments, the Federal Reserve reiterated that it is willing to continue to increase interest rates until the threat of inflation has definitively eased. The latest comments from the Fed’s chairman made in late August, were followed by losses in several markets, including cotton.

Monthly Economic Letter: August 2022

In the U.S., consumer spending on clothing has been flat for the past year. However, it has been holding at levels that are 25% higher than they were in 2019. If U.S. consumers pull back on clothing purchases, it may hit the market just as retailers have caught up with consumer demand after the onset of the shipping crisis.

Executive Cotton Update: August 2022

The U.S. economy was estimated to have added 528,000 jobs in July. With last month’s job growth, the count of U.S. workers fully recovered from the 22.0 million jobs lost with the onset of COVID.

Crypton Launches Performance Cotton Upholstery Fabrics

Crypton, a leader in performance and upholstery fabrics, has launched a collection of cotton-rich performance fabrics for residential, luxury hospitality, and workplace interior applications. The fabrics are made with at least 50% recycled cotton and feature Crypton's innovative stain and odor-resistant technology.

Product Innovation: 3 Exciting New Cotton Applications 

Cotton may be a plant, but there’s no limit to what it can do. Cotton Incorporated works to harness the full potential of this natural, biodegradable fiber through continuous research and development. The result: innovation from farm to finished product.

Monthly Economic Letter: July 2022

The breadth of losses throughout the commodity sector suggests a sea change in investor sentiment for the entire category. The effects of inflation, the withdrawal of stimulus, rising interest rates, and concerns about a possible recession could all be reasons explaining a reversal of speculative bets, and all could be contributors to the losses.

Executive Cotton Update: July 2022

Financial markets continued to be volatile over the past month. Following drops in stocks and cryptocurrencies, commodity prices became the latest broadly defined sector to suffer steep losses. Cotton futures were among the commodities that experienced sharp declines.

Rethinking Plastics: A 3D Cotton Camping Collection

What would it take to reduce plastic waste and replace it with natural materials that have a better sustainability profile? That’s one of the questions researchers at Cotton Incorporated asked themselves before delving into a multi-year project looking at cotton’s potential within 3D printing and injection molding.

How Cotton Is Implementing Regenerative Agriculture

The U.S. cotton industry is seeking continual improvement in sustainable cotton production, striving to more efficiently use our natural resources—water, land, carbon, and energy. The sustainable journey for cotton incorporates a variety of approaches and practices, including regenerative agriculture practices.

Executive Cotton Update: June 2022

Global financial markets continued to be volatile over the past month. Volatility likely stems from uncertainty regarding how the global economy will manage the transition from a heavily stimulated recovery into one grappling with inflation, supply shortages, and tightening monetary policies.

Monthly Economic Letter: June 2022

The war in Europe has contributed to the rise in input costs and reduced the availability of crops like wheat and corn. These crops can compete with cotton for acreage and may lend some support to cotton prices.

Executive Cotton Update: May 2022

The Federal Reserve implemented a half percentage point increase in interest rates on May 5. Fed officials also signaled that further half-point increases are possible at each of the five remaining meetings this calendar year.

Monthly Economic Letter: May 2022

Most benchmark prices increased over the past month. Chinese prices decreased.

Earth Day Recap

Sustainability is in the spotlight each April, but it’s front and center for the U.S. cotton industry year-round. If you missed our Earth Day features celebrating the science and art of cotton sustainability, we’ve got your full recap here.

A Sustainable Future with Cotton

This Earth Day, we’re recognizing the journey that’s involved when investing in a sustainable future. For cotton, that means appreciating the innately sustainable aspects of the renewable fiber while advocating for continuous improvements at the farm, manufacturing, and consumer levels.

Monthly Economic Letter: April 2022

Most benchmark prices increased over the past month. Open interest is shifting out of the May NY/ICE futures contract and into July.

Executive Cotton Update: April 2022

Before Russia invaded Ukraine, inflation was already a creeping global concern. The outbreak of war in Europe caused extreme volatility in commodity markets, most notably those tied to energy and food markets.

Monthly Economic Letter: March 2022

Most benchmark prices decreased over the past month. The most actively traded May 2021 NY/ICE futures contract decreased from 124 to 118 cents/lb. over the past month.

Executive Cotton Update: March 2022

With the invasion of Ukraine, the world suddenly became a different place. Along with the pandemic, shipping constraints, and inflation, the war represents yet another source of uncertainty and volatility.

New Cotton Incorporated + Studio 317 Garment Collection

Cotton Incorporated has collaborated with Studio 317 to showcase a new garment collection that features unique constructions and exciting technologies you can only find with cotton. These new pieces highlight cotton’s innovation by incorporating our own FABRICAST™ developments.

Monthly Economic Letter: February 2022

All benchmark prices increased over the past month. The Nearby March NY/ICE futures contract increased from 115 to 127 cents/lb.

Executive Cotton Update: February 2022

Many financial markets experienced volatility in recent weeks. The list of contributing causes is not short. It includes record COVID cases brought by the Omicron variant, high inflation, concerns about central bank actions to tame inflation, and geopolitical developments.

Outdoor Retailer Snow Show 2022

Are you heading to Denver next week? Is your team looking for new inspiration for your cotton products? Do you want to learn more about cotton’s sustainability? Connect with us next week at the Outdoor Retailer Snow Show to see the latest cotton technologies, sustainability research, and fabric developments.

Monthly Economic Letter: January 2022

All benchmark prices increased over the past month. The March NY/ICE futures fell as low as 104 cents/lb in early December.

Executive Cotton Update: January 2022

The Omicron variant has driven COVID case counts to new records in the U.S. and elsewhere. While the new strain has proven extraordinarily contagious, it has also been less dangerous to human health.

Monthly Economic Letter: December 2021

The latest USDA report featured a small decrease in global production (-224,000 bales to 121.6 million) and a small increase to global mill-use (+170,000 bales to 124.3 million).

Executive Cotton Update: December 2021

The U.S. economy was estimated to have added fewer jobs last month. Nonetheless, the unemployment rate posted a significant drop (-0.4 percentage points).

Monthly Economic Letter: November 2021

The latest USDA report featured increases to 2021/22 global production (+1.5 million bales to 121.8 million) and mill-use (+0.7 million bales to 124.1 million).

Executive Cotton Update: November 2021

The Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates the U.S. economy grew at a 2.0% seasonally-adjusted annual rate in the third quarter (Q3 2021).

How Real Are Sustainability Concerns?

closed cotton boll

In this 3-part Supply Chain Insights series from Cotton Incorporated, read how consumers translate their concerns into action, from buying organic food to seeking out sustainable clothing made of natural fibers.

Come see us at the Functional Fabric Fair!

Looking for innovation and inspiration in your cotton products? Connect with us this month at the Functional Fabric Fair in Portland, OR, to learn about the latest cotton technologies, sustainability research, and fabric developments. 

Beyond COVID: Demand & Prices

Relative to 2019, apparel spending has been up 25% in recent months. Normal annual growth is near 3%, so there has been more growth than could have been expected without COVID.