Its getting close to reality and closer to a store near you. What am I talking about? Cotton clothing from UnderArmour, the brand that was not showing much love to my beloved natural fiber before. (A past blog post does more background.) But they are officially launching the Charged Cotton line and it will be shipping soon for March sales.
Wired magazine says the about face was led by the reality that their target customers (people in their late teens through 30s) have an average of seven cotton T-shirts for each synthetic shirt in their wardrobe. Yep, it’s the best way to grow the brand to use cotton fiber and then put a bit of UA spin to it by combining the vast majority of cotton with five percent elastane, which is the fiber that provides a stretch fabric. The result is comfort, wicking & dryability.
The production process starts with alternating yarns of hydrophobic and hydrophilic cotton. The hydrophilic part is responsible for cotton’s moisture absorption, which can extend to 25 times its weight in water. But the inclusion of a hydrophobic yarn, which contains molecules that reject water, helps athletes stay as dry as when they first put on the garment. “That’s what causes the sweat to wick away from the cotton and dry quicker,” Stafford said of the hydrophobic yarns.
Heather Mitts, a defender with the Atlanta Beat of the Women’s Professional Soccer league, explained to Wired.com that the cotton products she used to wear while training were too heavy. Not so with Charged Cotton: “You don’t really notice that you’re wearing cotton.”
via How Under Armour Learned to Love Cotton Fiber| Playbook.
I’m going to have to check the line out next time I’m at Sports Authority or Dick’s Sporting Goods. Wonder what the sales people will think when I mention how I have a bunch of cotton farmer friends…. and imagine the glaze over when I ask about the hydrophobic and hydrophillic yarns. I think I’m going to like this!
Good post Janice! Cotton is my fabric of choice for everything (work, relaxing, casual exercise) except distance running. I never took much offense to their ad campaign “cotton is the enemy” because I’ll be really honest–I hate running in 100% cotton because it gets wet and heavy and uncomfortable. I think many other athletes probably feel the same way. It was a clever marketing slogan and I think it worked in getting people to think about tech fabrics as an alternative for sweaty activities . That being said–I think Under Armour was totally missing the boat by not offering cotton blend products for other types of athletes and activities. It will be interesting to see their new products. 🙂
Samantha, I have to say, I too like some performance gear for some circumstances. But as you can imagine, UA had an incredibly bad image problem with me. Afterall, there were lots of other companies with tech fabric. But I’m glad to say the pulling of that campaign made them possible, this makes them more probable too!
I am re-reading my original comment and hope it didn’t come off the wrong way!
I completely get you and understand the poor image problem. I absolutely understand why the cotton industry would not be impressed with UA’s little tagline. To put it in perspective for myself, it would be similar if another fruit company said “oranges are the enemy”. Lets just say– I’d be on fire! 🙂
I suppose what I meant was that from my perspective-even though I purchase tech fabrics for specific purposes (my fav for running) that I personally believe that cotton is the best fabric for ever other part of my life. And the ad campaign was clearly a little tacky and inappropriate-considering that they are now offering cotton blend products and have pulled the campaign. And for UA to limit their product line to only tech fabric products seemed a little limiting from a profitability perspective.
Like Ryan said..you’ll have to report back on your convo’s with salespeople! 🙂
Oh I totally understood ya. Its also why when I saw farmers from other commodities wearing UA clothing, I had to help them understand our perspective. In fact, in October when they first announced they would have a cotton line ( https://jplovescotton.com/2010/10/27/under-armour-friends-enemies/ ), it made my day because even though UA had a new ad campaign, occasionally I’d find myself in a store with the old materials out… amazing how my temper would flare. The company has had great products, now has advertising that gets to their merits rather than attacking others. Life is good!
And by the way, even if we disagreed, I love seeing you here & getting your opinion Sam. That helps make sure I keep learning, having to think through things for different perspectives, etc. It’s just that words like enemy make that VERY HARD for me. Keep up the good work! 🙂
Ryan Goodman says
You’ll have to let us know how that goes with the sales ppl.
I can’t wait for the new cotton Under Armor product! 🙂
Especially if it comes with the seal of cotton!