During a recent event for retailers and brands held in Berlin, Germany, Texas cotton producer, and CCI first vice president Dahlen Hancock detailed the technological advances and the environmental safeguards and regulations that govern U.S. cotton production and discussed their effect on the future and the importance to the apparel supply chain.

“Responsibility along the apparel supply chain starts with the fiber, and as a fourth generation farmer from Texas, I’m particularly sensitive to the importance of being kind to the earth and to our land,” Hancock told the group. “I followed in the farming footsteps of my father, grandfather and great-grandfather, and I farm my land responsibly so that my two sons will have that same opportunity.”

 “The industry is also working with Cotton Incorporated on technologies that will lessen cotton’s environmental footprint in the manufacturing process that minimize energy and minimize waste,” Miller said.

Cotton faces an uphill battle regaining lost market share, Miller says. While price spikes in cotton explain some of the growth in synthetic fiber substitution, it doesn’t explain a 300 percent growth in synthetics versus a much smaller growth rate in cotton. Miller says synthetics are not only cheaper than cotton, but its technology is getting better.

“We need to work to get back the market share, but we need to be vigilant, especially when it comes to the argument that somehow this fiber that drips out of a barrel of oil is better for you than cotton.”

Social media will be a crucial component of the re-launch, Miller noted. “Right now it’s easier to reach a global consumer than any other given time in history because of the way information is spread and read now. We need to fill the airwaves with COTTON USA messages.”

To develop and express its new brand identity, CCI worked with AR New York, a brand-focused agency that is part of the Publicis global network of agencies. AR’s clients have included global companies such as Revlon, Brooks Brothers, Banana Republic, Valentino, Lands’ End, DFS and Jimmy Choo.

A new COTTON USA mark will replace the original mark created in 1989. It features a cotton boll “with seven twists and turns, one for each segment of our industry,” Miller said. “The mark starts with the earth and ends with the earth. That’s an important part of the story as well.”

In conjunction with the National Cotton Council, CCI works to promote U.S. cotton exports through COTTON USA in more than 50 countries globally. With offices in Washington, Memphis, London, Hong Kong, Seoul and Shanghai and dedicated representatives in numerous other countries, CCI plays the lead role in educating and strengthening the market for U.S. cotton and U.S. cotton products around the world.

For more information on CCI, please visit www.cottonusa.org.