Archeologists discovered cotton in a Mexican cave dating back to 7,000 BC. Cotton has played a role in world history and economics for at least 3,000 years and has been a chief export of Egypt, India, England, and the United States.
Over the last 30 years, cotton growers have conscientiously worked toward making cotton more environmentally friendly. Irrigation is minimal because cotton tolerates dry conditions well. Some measures implemented include: reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 22%, land use by 30%, and pesticide use by 50% according to Cotton Incorporated.
A long growing season means that Cotton only grows in temperate regions. In the United States, the Cotton Belt includes states in the south from Virginia, down to Georgia and across to California.
Harvesting machines pull only the cotton fibers from the cotton boll leaving the plants behind. About 15% of cotton, mostly Pima Cotton found in the Southwest, is machine stripped in a process that also harvests unopened bolls. This material is known as Seed cotton. In both instances, the short clingy fibers are removed before further processing. Once removed, oil is extracted. The remaining plant materials become feed for livestock.
Fibers initially pulled from the plant will be longer. The smaller fibers, removed at the later stages of processing, are used for non-woven fabrics and materials. What was once a labor-intensive industry now relies on machines increasing speed and production rates while lowering costs to consumers.
Cotton tolerates high heat, bleach, and frequent laundering. Unless treated with a special chemical finish, cotton garments usually require pressing to remove wrinkles. Cotton is easy to iron as it does not scorch readily. Alone or blended with other fibers such as silk, linen, or polyester, cotton can be constructed into any garment from sportswear to formal wear.
Cotton’s many benefits are:
This Turquoise Cotton Dress is 100% cotton. It is a causal dress with a flattering silhouette with box pleat details. For more cotton garments, view my Collection of garments. Next #FASHIONReport will be introducing linen.
The flax plant has been used in the manufacturing of clothing since the earliest civilizations, starting in Mesopotamia. Linen is one of the oldest textiles in the world. The fabric became widely popular in ancient Egypt. Annual floods replenished the deep, alluvial soils of the Nile River valley - making them ideal for growing flax during the cool winters. Linen fabric was ideal heat because of its lightweight and ability to wick moisture away from the skin.
Linen is harvested from the stalks of small, brilliant blue wildflowers. The cellulose inside the stalks that is used in the manufacturing of linen. Although this annual plant is ready to harvest just 100 days after planting, the process of turning it from flax plant into linen fabric may take an additional 150 days. The steps include harvesting; stacking it in sheaths and letting it dry; retting or letting moisture break down the exterior; stripping and combing the fibers. Followed by scutching, a procedure that divides the wood stems from flax fibers then combing the fibers to spin them into spools for blending the fibers; weaving; bleaching; and dyeing.
Elegant and comfortable, linen is a wonderful fabric choice. Unlike other commercially harvested plants, flax doesn't require much in the way of fertilizers or pesticides and is completely biodegradable making linen a very sustainable fabric option.
Benefits of linen:
This Slate Linen Dress is 100% linen. It is a causal dress with an elastic waistband and pockets.
For more linen garments, view my Collection of garments. Next #FASHIONReport will be introducing linen.