Kevin Plank, President and CEO of the Baltimore-based sports apparel giant Under Armour (UA), who, for a long time, opened every road event or investor meeting with the slogan “Cotton is the Enemy,” last month announced that he now realizes that cotton is not the enemy. He might have thought so, but the consumers did not.
The old business adage, “The customer is always right,” was proven true when UA’s market researchers discovered that of the 30 t-shirts found in the drawers of average 18-year-old males, 27 were made of cotton.
Now, thanks to a collaborative effort between UA and Cotton Incorporated, UA recently announced a new line of cotton-rich performance apparel called “Charged Cotton”.
Perseverance And Innovation
An official statement from Cotton Incorporated’s President & CEO, J. Berrye Worsham, explained, “Several years ago when we heard the line ‘Cotton is the Enemy,’ it didn’t make us angry. It made us more determined to design cotton products that performed better for athletic apparel users.”
The t-shirts, shorts and capris in the Charged Cotton athletic apparel line contain 95 percent cotton and 5 percent elastane, or spandex (for stretch). The decision by UA to add a cotton apparel line to its current mix of synthetic athletic apparel coincided with a series of moisture management technological innovations created by Cotton Incorporated.
“Our findings were the turning point that helped convince UA to dedicate a line of cotton athletic apparel to its offerings,” added Worsham.
A recent Cotton Incorporated survey revealed that when asked, 97 percent of consumers say that they prefer and would purchase cotton athletic apparel over synthetic athletic apparel, if it offered the same performance features.
“This is one of the most exciting product releases in the history of Under Armour, as Charged Cotton is the ultimate marriage of innovation and performance,” added Plank.
Consisting of alternating hydrophilic (moisture absorbing) and hydrophobic (moisture repelling) cotton yarns, UA Charged Cotton actually “spreads out” a wearer’s sweat once it comes in contact with the garment, which promotes faster drying.
The apparel line should arrive in stores by March and be available at UA’s normal distribution partners, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Sports Authority, The Finish Line and Foot Locker stores.
The shirts will retail in the neighborhood of $25. To read the full news release on this announcement, log on to the Cotton Board’s Web site www.cottonboard.org under “Latest News”.
The Cotton Board, which administers the Cotton Research and Promotion Program conducted by Cotton Incorporated, contributed information for this article.