The World’s Cotton Shortage Affects Linen and Bedding Prices in the United States

Flooding in Pakistan and bad weather in India has majorly impacted the production of cotton in those countries, and, by extension, has caused rising prices on cotton-heavy items here in the United States. The recession has not helped, but when major cotton producers such as Pakistan and India have trouble supplying manufacturers with the raw materials they need to produce apparel and bedding, it leads to rising prices and declining quality on those items around the world.

In an article posted on November 3, 2010, New York Times staff writer Stephanie Clifford explains that manufacturers which produce jeans and other articles of clothing made primarily from cotton are scrambling to cut corners while maintaining quality.

The New York Times article, Cotton Clothing Price Tags to Rise, opens: “Synthetic linings. Smaller buttons. Less Italian fabric. And yes, even more polyester.”

Liz Claiborne, which makes brands like Juicy Couture and Kate Spade, has had to pull back from importing Italian fabrics and, instead, is dealing with suppliers who make their own raw materials or yarns. Buttons and trim are also on the table for review at Liz Claiborne: can smaller buttons and less expensive trim be used on apparel and still catch the eye of consumers? And then there are companies like Lululemon Athletica, the sportswear company, which has moved some of its manufacturing from China to Viet Nam, Cambodia, and Bangladesh, where wages are lower.

Bon Tons retail prices rose 5-8% in 2010, and they are now selling sweaters knitted with rayons, acrylics, and other synthetic fibers in order to avoid raising prices in the stores. Levis, Hanes, Playtex…the list of retailers feeling the cotton pinch is a lengthy one. They are responding by moving away from natural fabrics and towards synthetic fibers and blends.

Naturally, Cozytown Linens does not want to start selling acrylic bedding! The thought of our customers sleeping on uncomfortable sheets made from acrylics is something we don’t ever want to consider. But we also don’t want you to have to take out a second mortgage on the house in order to sleep on fine, soft, cool cotton sheets and pillow cases! But there’s hope: some farmers in the United States have decided to grow cotton–not only farmers in the southwest, but also in Texas, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia. This can only help the price of cotton in the United States, and help us keep our prices down.

At Cozytown, quality means everything. We want you to rest your head on the most luxurious pillows every night of the year. We want you to slip under silky cotton sheets in the summer, and buttery-soft flannel sheets and toasty warm, fluffy down blankets on cool autumn nights.  In short, we’re here to help you get the most out of those all too brief eight hours every night!

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