For centuries, Egyptian cotton has been considered the best in the world. Nowadays the name doesn't tend to refer to where it is grown but instead the type of threads produced. But what makes Egyptian cotton different from the rest?
WHAT IS EGYPTIAN COTTON?
The main difference being that both regular cotton and Egyptian cotton come from different plants so their properties are never going to be the same.
Egyptian cotton is hand picked so puts less stress on the fibres, leaving them straight and intact. These fibres can be made longer to create very fine yarns which make it possible to make yarns without sacrificing the length, giving stronger and softer cotton, unlike regular cotton which has more splices.
Since pure Egyptian cotton consists of finer threads, they can be woven into each square inch and produce a finer and more consistent finish, ending up as a softer and more flexible fabric. As well as this, since they’ve not been picked by machines the fibres are stronger and more resistant to stress.
IS IT WORTH CHOOSING EGYPTIAN COTTON?
Fabrics made of Egyptian Cotton are softer, finer and last longer than any other cotton so are worth putting the slight extra bit of money into. Since finer yarns mean a higher thread count, the weave of the fabric is significantly stronger and lasts a lot longer than regular cotton. It’s always worth noticing the thread count when choosing which to buy; the higher the thread count, the higher the quality so the more durable and soft your bed sheets.
As well as this, Shirt Egyptian cotton guarantees the highest levels of purity so has the ability to absorb liquids - meaning deeper, brighter and more resistant coloured fabrics to add that extra pop of colour into your room.
It is also said that Egyptian cotton is better for those who struggle to sleep, this being because the fabric is more porous therefore air can pass through - avoiding that stuffy feeling at night.
Our shirts use extra-long Egyptian cotton in soft yet strong two-fold compositions; we have also introduced luxurious West Indian Sea Island cotton and Supima cotton – the rarest in the world.
is a non-profit organization in the United States whose main objective is to promote the use of U.S. grown American
around the world and is involved in quality assurance and research programs. Founded in 1954, it derived its name from superior pima.
Supima licenses about 400 selected high-quality mills, textile and clothing manufacturers, and brands/retailers to use the SUPIMA® trademark. Members finance the activities of Supima by payments calculated on a "per bale" basis.
Its other activities include:
research programs to improve the quality of American Pima cotton
timely crop and market information to its grower-members and licensees
advertisements in both consumer and trade publications
presentations to customers both in the USA and abroad
participation in major international exhibitions and events
an annual design competition featuring top graduates from the leading U.S. fashion and design schools that is showcased during New York Fashion Week in September
The Board of Directors of Supima is made up of American Pima growers from Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas.
Production of Supima cotton has risen from about 100,000 bales per year in the 1980s to over 800,000 bales in 2006. More than 90% of Supima cotton is exported from the United States, the majority of this being for the overseas manufacture of yarn, finished fabrics, clothing, sheets and towels which are re-exported to the United States for sale. The top five importers of Supima cotton are China, India, Pakistan, Turkey, and Peru.
History of Sea Island Cotton
, the world's most exclusive cotton.
Discovered in the early 18th century in the British West Indies, Sea Island Cotton is the tropical strand of the same "Gossypium Barbadense" plant that American Pima and Egyptian Giza cotton are descended from. The extra long staple length fibers allowed for smoother, more luxurious cotton fabrics to be woven than ever before, which quickly led to Sea Island Cotton being known as the finest in the world.
While first found in Barbados, the cotton seeds were brought up to the islands along South Carolina and Georgia to be grown for the US market. It was only once Sea Island cotton was grown in the US that it became well known, coinciding with the invention of the cotton gin to become a valuable commodity for local farmers.
The American Civil War decimated much of the U.S. Sea Island cotton production in the mid-19th century, and subsequent infestations nearly ended Sea Island cotton farming in the United States. Luckily, the crop survived in its original home of the Caribbean, albeit in much smaller production quantities.
Today, Sea Island Cotton is regarded by many as an ultra-premium, rare cotton used by luxury brands for their finest products. The production is limited, and there are even differences between the cotton grown within the countries of the West Indies.
What makes Sea Island Cotton so desirable is its unique combination of characteristics: extra long staple length (above 1 3/8"), remarkable fiber strength, incredibly uniform growth, and significant brightness in color.
Accounting for just .0004% of the cotton supply worldwide, Sea Island Cotton is the rarest in the world.
While Egyptian cotton, highly regarded by many experts, can boast extra long staple length above 1 3/8", fans of Sea Island Cotton say it's the durability, consistency, and significant brightness of Sea Island Cotton that makes it even more desirable. The extra long staple length allows both Egyptian and Sea Island cotton to be woven into high thread count fabrics, but it is the uniformity and hairlessness of the Sea Island cotton fiber that allows it to wear softer and be more resistant to wear during washing. Rather than degrade over time, the hand feel of Sea Island Cotton improves from wash to wash and the color maintains its vibrancy.
Accounting for just .0004% of the cotton supply worldwide, Sea Island Cotton is the rarest in the world. Egypt can produce up to 74,000 bales of extra long staple length cotton per year, with 1,480 of those bales being their premiere "Giza 45" cotton. Just 130 bales of certified West Indies Sea Island Cotton H6 are produced each year, with only 70 bales coming from Barbados.
As is the case with many luxury goods, Sea Island cotton has many imitators. In the hopes of piggybacking on the prestigious reputation of Sea Island Cotton, many fabrics today will be marketed as "Sea Island Quality". While these imitator fabrics are generally made from extra long staple length cotton of great quality, only cotton certified by the West Indian Sea Island Cotton Association (WISICA) should be trusted as true Sea Island quality.