Cotton tradersShow Hide
In 1987, Cotton Traders was founded by former rugby union players Fran Cotton and Steve Smith. The former England international team mates, and friends, started a mail order rugby shirt business, working out of a small office in Altrincham in the north of England. The business grew rapidly, partly due to their enterprising decision to advertise in national Sunday newspapers, and they soon established themselves in the sportswear marketplace. Over time they expanded the product range to include leisurewear and footwear for both men and women in a wide range of sizes and colours. Their core products at that time were still rugby shirts however and the brand developed as the public embraced sportswear as fashionable casual clothing.
In the early 1990's Cotton Traders negotiated a lucrative licensing agreement to produce and sell replica England rugby shirts. This was a pivotal moment in the company's history and their shirts soon became a common sight on the streets and playing fields of Britain. A year later they struck a similar deal with Wales and then in 1994 with South Africa. During the Rugby World Cup in South Africa a year later, Nelson Mandela famously wore one of their iconic shirts. Further international exposure of the brand came in 2009 when a major Hollywood film 'Invictus' told the inspirational story of that victorious South African team (the shirts featuring heavily).
Cotton Traders opened their first UK retail store in 1998. A hundred other stores soon followed, mostly in out of town locations. The sites were chosen carefully for customer convenience and ease of parking as out of town retail outlets and factory stores sprang up nationwide. This form of retail shopping flourished as the range of products and consumer choice increased. Further outlets were subsequently opened in rather more unusual locations, such as garden centres and motorway service stations, as the company sought to increase and diversify its presence.
The website launched in 2002 established a successful online retail presence and the company now offers international delivery of its products, thus reaching new markets. The distinctive branding can now be found on all kinds of clothing items and is equally popular with men and women. Sports and activity wear is still an integral part of the business with unisex rugby shirts being a popular choice for comfort and leisure as well as for playing sport. Hikers and campers are well catered for with a fabulous choice of good quality trousers, shorts, shirts and jumpers. An extensive range of cosy fleeces and gilets are available in an array of vibrant colours. Women have the benefit of being able to mix and match from an eye-catching swimwear collection while both sexes have a range of comfortable loungewear items to choose from, for those less active days. Nightwear and underwear collections are also included and best of all, Cotton Traders supply much of their clothing in sizes from extra small right up to 5XL meaning anyone can be sure to find the right product in the right size.
Complementing their clothing is an impressive footwear and accessory range. Lightweight fashion trainers and sandals make great holiday choices while walkers benefit from a fine selection of walking shoes and boots. Wellington boots are a must have for wet weather and countryside pursuits of course, and a comfy pair of slippers waiting at home round the day off nicely. There are also some fabulous scarves, socks, gloves, belts, bags and wallets available in the Accessories section to complement the clothing choices. So anyone thinking that it's all about rugby should think again! The Cotton Traders name is synonymous with hard wearing, quality casual clothing but actually offers much more than that. The array of products available has expanded immensely with a homeware products and linen section being added to the clothing range.
In a relatively short space of time the Cotton Traders brand has become a household name and a label to be trusted. That label will be around for some time yet.