The Bailey Boys Inc., a nationally known manufacturer of upscale children's clothing, is the recipient of the U.S. Cotton Champion Award for 2002.

The National Cotton Council presented the award at the Beltwide Cotton Conferences in Atlanta on behalf of the National Cotton Women's Committee. The NCWC began the award two years ago to recognize U.S. apparel companies for their commitment to the use of U.S. cotton.

Diane Bailey, company owner and president, accepted the award from Cotton Foundation President Jimmy Dodson, a South Texas cotton producer, who commended Mrs. Bailey for her use of American-grown cotton fabric in her clothing lines.

“We are totally honored to receive this award,” Mrs. Bailey said. “We get 60 percent to 70 percent of our fabric from the Dan River Co. in Virginia because their products are American made. Cotton is the frontrunner of fine fabrics, and we use it in our clothing because everybody loves cotton.”

Bailey Boys was established in 1987 by Diane and Jim Bailey, and has grown steadily. The company name was derived from the fact that Mrs. Bailey designed and made clothes for her children, Chad Bailey and Brent Bailey. She and her husband acquired some industrial sewing machines and later went into full-scale production.

The Bailey Boys' line is distinctive for its traditional appliqued dress wear, play wear and casual wear and is particularly known for brother-sister coordinates. The company's headquarters are on St. Simon's Island, Ga., and the factory is in Baxley, Ga. Its products are sold primarily through specialty stores in the Southeast and Southwest.

“The workmanship on The Bailey Boys clothing is clearly superior, and the designs are distinctive,” said Beth Ivy, coordinator for the National Cotton Women's Committee. “The U.S. cotton industry salutes Diane and her company for their use of U.S.-grown cotton and their support of U.S. cotton farmers.”