My first Study Tour visit with the Kent State University NY Studio was to Cotton Inc.’s corporate office on Madison Avenue. While the international firm’s headquarters are in North Carolina, the public relations, trend forecasting and consumer market teams are located in New York.
Prior to this visit I only knew Cotton Inc.’s mission based on their “Fabric of Our Lives” commercials. So really all I knew was that they made different budding celebrities sing the same song in really cute clothes. I quickly learned that Cotton Inc. is actually a not-for-profit company that promotes the use of cotton by providing inspiration to textile manufacturers and designers through fabric technology and trend forecasting.
The company strives to show clients the best and newest ways to use cotton. For example, the product development team, based in North Carolina, will be sent a fabric from the forecasting team to be analyzed. Once they determine the components of the fabric (every fabric must be at least 60% cotton for the company to promote it) the team will develop samples to give to clients and then help them determine where and how to produce it.
Our presenter was a member of the trend forecasting team. She explained that she spends three months out of the year traveling all over the world to find inspiration in street style and lifestyle trends to help develop her team’s presentations. Because Cotton Inc. markets to textile producers they have to present trends 12-18 months ahead of the selling season. Within these presentations the team highlights three trends for the season, first discussing the theme’s inspiration, then color, fabric and finishes. She allowed us to view a previous denim presentation, which featured the themes “Revival,” based on sophisticated, clean-cut Amish-style silhouettes, “Mashup,” which featured jacquard prints, and “Echoes,” which was all about different fabric finishes.
Our trip to Cotton Inc. was very informative, and I loved learning more about the company that has such a strong presence in advertising. I even applied to the company’s summer internship later that day!