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Cotton, Coast to Coast : New Campaign Captures Influence of Big City Excitement

Pairing cool celebrities with great style and strong designer brands is a significant way to educate the consumer about the benefits of cotton.

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Cotton Incorporated

Photo By Lifestyle Monitor™ Survey

An iconic fabric. Young women that capture the spirit of youth, talent and aspiration. And high fashion that comes from around the world, some made in this country's biggest city: New York. They all come together in the latest entries to the Cotton Incorporated Fabric of My Life® campaign, featuring young stars Emmy Rossum and Camilla Belle.

Pairing cool celebrities with great style and strong designer brands is a significant way to educate the consumer about the benefits of cotton, says Siegal+Gale's Adriana Estrada, account director for the global strategic branding firm.

"The commercial makes the consumer want to emulate the celebrity's style, or buy the brand they see featured in the commercial. Everything that people like about cotton—the comfort, performance or the way it makes you feel—will come across."

Among women age 18-to-34, 19% look to celebrities as a source of apparel ideas, as well as commercials (25%), TV shows (25%) and fashion magazines (32%), according to the Cotton Incorporated Lifestyle MonitorTM Survey.

The spots show the versatility of cotton fashions inspired by the U.S. trend capitals New York and Los Angeles, and influencing everywhere in between.

Native New Yorker Emmy Rossum, a singer/actress who is the star of the hit Showtime® series "Shameless," is in a "New York Tale" wearing a red cotton lace dress by Monique Lhuillier, a structured blue cotton jacket by Elie Tahari, a black and white polka dot dress by Oscar de la Renta and a textured boucle sweater by Phillip Lim.

Actress Camilla Belle tells the "L.A. Story," which comes across with a laid-back California vibe. Belle wears a yellow and white cotton dress by Thakoon, blue Prada, a cotton skirt by Marc by Marc Jacobs and a botanical print dress from Milly.

"Camilla is a wonderful role model for young women. She is smart, accomplished and a lovely person, both inside and out. I am thrilled she was chosen to wear Milly," says Michelle Smith, creative director and founder of Milly.

More than one-third (35%) of women age 18-to-34 say clothes worn by celebrities are very or somewhat influential to apparel purchases, according to the Monitor. And a fifth of women this age say it's "very or somewhat important" that their new clothes purchases are recommended or endorsed by someone.

Thayer's Marsha Welcher, founder and designer for the New York-made label, says when a celebrity wears her apparel, it's exciting, inspiring — and good for the brand.

"I'm always so thrilled to see a celebrity, or a blogger or even a girl on the street wearing our clothes because everyone always does such an incredible job making it their own — this is all incredibly important to growing our brand."

Besides celebrity appeal, consumers appreciate American-made apparel, like that of Phillip Lim and Milly who are featured in the commercial. "Milly has always been manufactured in the USA, since our launch more than 11 years ago," Smith says. "In fact, Milly is made right here in New York City, which in my opinion is pretty cool." More than half of women say it is "very or somewhat important" that the apparel they buy is made in the U.S. Among these, 89% say it is because they "prefer to support the U.S. economy," according to the Monitor. Malia Mills, designer and founder of Malia Mills apparel and retail stores, also makes her apparel line in New York's Garment Center.

"We are big proponents of Made in America," Mills says. "We couldn't have started our business without the cutters, graders, sewers and other suppliers in the Garment Center in New York City and the tri-state area. Production and quality control are part of an incredibly complex process."

Mills emphasizes that local manufacturing enables entrepreneurs to utilize diverse talents and skill sets to start and grow small businesses, which contributes to a city's growth and prosperity.

"We believe it takes just one — if every apparel brand in the U.S. made just one style in America what a formidable manufacturing force we could be."

Of course, these designers incorporate cotton into their collections, which is shown in a range of interpretations in the Fabric Of My Life commercials.

"The campaign appeals to me because it is about beauty, emotion, comfort and authenticity," Smith says. "I design Milly for women of all ages who want to dress in a way that is smart and sexy. Camilla Belle epitomizes that aesthetic."

Nearly 8 of 10 women ages 18-to-34 say cotton and cotton blends are the fibers best suited for today’s fashions, according to Monitor stats. Six out of 10 of female consumers age 18-34 (60%) agree that cotton apparel tends to be higher in quality than synthetic clothes. And nearly half (47%) are willing to pay more for natural fibers like cotton.

Among women 18-34, fully 85% describe cotton apparel as comfortable, followed by soft (82%), good quality (80%), casual (79%), natural (78%), good value (77%) easy care (77%) durable (74%) and fashionable (71%) according to the Cotton Incorporated surveys.

"Absolutely, every American designer has to use cotton in their collections," Welcher says. "It's who we are and how we live."

This article is one in a series that appears weekly on WWD.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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