2016 Supima Design Competition

Supima, which represents U.S. growers of pima cotton, sewed together some major retail collaborations this past year and more are in the works.

Marc Lewkowitz, who ended his first year as president and chief executive officer of the Phoenix-based organization, summed up the accomplishments and gave an outlook of some new deals in a new blog post.

Brooks Brothers in the spring will convert its men’s polo program to Supima cotton after it relaunched of its Oxford Polo button-down shirt with Supima this past year.

Banana Republic, which launched its 120/2 Supima cotton woven shirts in classic and slim-fit styles in 2016, recently added some Supima women’s knits, and in 2017 the retailer will expand Supima offerings in its men’s knit collection, as well as expand the women’s knits program.

Uniqlo, the international retail brand, continues to offer high-quality Supima basic knit Ts and sweaters at attainable prices to bring a new customer base to experience the benefits of Supima cotton.

Levi’s, which created its first Supima cotton jeans in its classic 511 style, packaged the jeans in a cotton bag to tell the story of Supima cotton and the history of the product.

Trending Millennial brands Casper, Everlane and Stance have been quick to integrate Supima cotton into their core product offerings and make it a key selling point to their younger customers.

The Supima Design Competition continued to build recognition in the fashion industry on a global level. In addition to showcasing the competition during Paris Fashion Week, Supima was invited by the U.S. State Department to feature its collections at the 2016 Diplomacy by Design event held at Blair House in Washington, D.C.

In the home fashion market, the labeling challenges of Egyptian cotton coupled with a sharp drop-off in its production have added to increased interest in Supima, Lewkowitz said, as many brands look for ways to add quality and dependability back into their offerings.

Macy’s, one of the U.S.’s largest home fashion retailers, will be switching from Egyptian cotton to Supima for its top-two selling sheeting programs, Hotel Collection and Charter Club.

Target just launched a Supima sheeting program this fall and is planning to add towels in 2017.

“Ours is a small and intimate business built upon a small but dedicated team that is driven to connect and share the story of a remarkable fiber,” Lewkowitz wrote. “At the end of 2015, Supima sold the office and land of the existing office that had served as the headquarters for almost 40 years. Having relocated to a temporary office this year, Supima looks forward to moving into a new permanent location at some time in 2018.”

He noted that the demand for authenticity, quality and differentiation are stronger than ever, which creates “an ideal environment” for Supima.

For the week ended Dec. 22, export sales for the 2016-17 crop year total 414,700 bales, a 213 percent increase over the same time last year.

“With more consumers shopping online, our partner brands have new and engaging ways to tell the Supima story,” Lewkowitz added. “Supima is fortunate to work with the world’s top brands and is poised and ready to take full advantage of this opportunity to advance American-grown Pima cotton.”