For most people, life presents challenges every day. And whether major or minor, when life seems hard enough, people often don’t want to be challenged by something seemingly as simple as their wardrobe. They want something that’s comfortable and expresses who they are, yet leaves them with the energy and clarity to meet their challenges.

That’s the idea behind Cotton Incorporated’s new “Leave Comfort to Clothes” advertising campaign.

“Here at Cotton, we’re celebrating those life-changing moments, whether they’re big or small,” Lisa Lo Paro, Cotton Inc. web editor and content strategist, said in a blog post about the campaign. “We believe that self-expression is the key to confidence and confidence is the key to making your dreams a reality.”

Bjorn Nasett, a Milwaukee-based stylist and photographer, says it’s important that today’s consumers can express themselves in comfortable clothing that allow them to reflect their inner truth.

“Because of what’s happening in the world, I think people are saying, ‘I’m just living my life, and living it the way I want,'” Nasett says. “That brings out fearlessness, when people are like, ‘What have I got to lose?’ They go for it. And as far as expressing themselves, they’re like, ‘What the hell, why not?'”

The first installation of the “Leave Comfort to Clothes” campaign portrays three young women at a music festival. They come upon some revelers that are mud sliding, and rather than walk by with her group, one of the young women hands her hat to her friend and pitches herself into the mud. The spot’s tagline: “Taking a chance is tough. Washing cotton is easy.”

The importance placed on the ease of garment laundering shouldn’t be lost on brands and retailers. Most consumers (78 percent) say cotton is the easiest fabric to wash, followed by polyester (72 percent) and rayon (50 percent), according to the Cotton Incorporated Lifestyle Monitor Survey.

Beyond laundering preferences, an overwhelming majority of consumers (77 percent) say cotton is their favorite fabric to wear, according to Monitor data. That’s trailed significantly by all other fabrics: polyester (3 percent), silk (2 percent), and “anything comfortable (unspecified), Spandex, other blends, wool, rayon, stretch fabric (unspecified) and linen—all of which garnered 1 percent.

When it comes to the top attributes of cotton, the Monitor research shows 91 percent of consumers describe it as comfortable. In fact, 65 percent are willing to pay more for natural fibers like cotton, according to the data.

In “The Complete Guide to Understanding Consumer Psychology,” marketing experts Neil Patel and Ritika Puri write that companies should be doing all they can to remove barriers, or, points of friction, that prevent consumers from progressing through the company’s conversion funnel. The pair says companies can reduce such friction by building trust.

“It’s a brand’s burden of responsibility to communicate trust signals to their audiences,” according to Patel and Puri. “Build trust through testimonials, trust seals and customer reviews.”

Nasett says that as a stylist, he tells his clients they can always trust cotton.

“You may not be able to trust everything else in the world, but 100 percent pure cotton, you know what that is,” he says. “You don’t need to have it explained. You can buy everything from the latest fashion to that comfy T-shirt. Right now, people don’t know what they’re getting politically or anything else. But people will always respond to the familiar and things they can put their trust in, like 100 percent cotton.”

More than seven in 10 consumers (79 percent) say cotton apparel is the most trustworthy, according to Monitor data. Consumers also cite it as the most sustainable (84 percent), soft (81 percent), comfortable (80 percent), authentic (80 percent), appropriate for casualwear (77 percent) and reliable (73 percent).

The psychology of fashion has long extolled the virtues of wearing clothes that give wearers confidence—the power suit, the little black dress. Last autumn, Wrangler focused its national television advertising on how its clothes could inspire consumers to embrace life’s everyday adventures.

At the same time, there’s no shortage of successful people who have preferred to wear the same thing every day: Apple’s Steve Jobs, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, and former art director Matilda Kahl, who became famous after writing an article in Harper’s Bazaar detailing her adopted work uniform of black pants and short-sleeved white top. Even fashion designers aren’t immune to the practice: Giorgio Armani has his dark T-shirt and jeans, Michael Kors is known for his black tee and jacket, and Karl Lagerfeld is always seen in his black suit, white shirt, and sunglasses. The reason for these self-imposed uniforms stems from a desire to save creativity and ingenuity for work.

“When we’re comfortable in our clothes, we’re comfortable with ourselves,” says Cotton Incorporated’s Lo Paro. “We have confidence. We feel powerful. So put on that dress that makes you feel invincible. Straighten your tie, and adjust your sleeves. Run for one more mile. Step on stage. Tell them how you really feel. Ask for that promotion. Change your career. Jump into the mud. Do what scares you.”
 

This article is one in a series that appears weekly on sourcingjournalonline.com. The data contained are based on findings from the Cotton Incorporated Lifestyle Monitor Survey, a consumer attitudinal study, as well as upon other of the company’s industrial indicators, including its Retail Monitor and Supply Chain Insights analyses. Additional relevant information can be found at CottonLifestyleMonitor.com.

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