Men’s cotton, the staple fabric of many clothing brands, is getting its time in the sun.
According to the Woolworths and Aldi chains, men’s brands are spending more on the wool than on cotton, as it is the cheapest option.
The Australian Woolworth chain has released figures showing that it spent $6.4 million on cotton wool in 2016-17, compared to $3.2 million on the same period last year.
The Woolworth’s chief executive, Andrew Pemberton, told the Sydney Morning Herald that the decision to increase its investment in the category was part of a wider effort to drive down the price of wool.
“I think the key thing about the new price is that we’re actually not using as much cotton as we did last year,” he said.
“What we are doing is reducing the cost of production and the cost to sell and, of course, we’re not getting as much profit as we might have otherwise.”
The Woolies have been selling their cotton in two different colours: white and black.
“We’re trying to drive up the colour range, so that’s one of the reasons why we’re investing so much in it,” Mr Pembertons said.’
It’s an investment’Men’s wool is not only a versatile and warm fabric, but it also has a high impact on the environment.
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has described wool as “the world’s second-most important greenhouse gas behind coal”.
It has been a major factor in the reduction of CO2 emissions, and also the cause of over a third of the deaths from heart disease.
In Australia, the Woolies employ around 200 people in Australia and overseas, with Mr Penderton estimating that a further 15,000 people are involved in the production of wool in the country.
Aldi, which also makes men’s clothing, says its cotton wool blend has helped the company’s profits double in the past four years.
The company said that the new cotton range is a natural evolution for its brand and reflects the ongoing shift to a green future.
“The wool blend from Aldi is a modern and sustainable alternative to the traditional wool blends, which have become increasingly costly and overused,” Aldi said.
In 2016, Woolworth and Aldis’ Australian sales were up 21 per cent on a year earlier, with the company predicting its sales to increase by 50 per cent by 2025.
The latest figures also reveal that Aldi’s men’s label has a 50 per-cent share of the Wool’s men-owned label market.