Pima cotton is primarily grown in limited quantities in three different areas, the southwestern regions of the US, Australia and Peru. It originated in Peru, but it gained its name after the Pima Indians who helped raise the cotton in the United States. Peruvian Pima cotton grows along the northern coastal valleys of Peru. Environmentally friendly hand-harvesting results in silky soft fibres which are free from scratchy impurities.
Pima cotton is a high-end strain of cotton with a long fibre measuring between 1 1/2 to 2 inches in length. Conventional cotton fibres only measure up to 1 inch. Due to its extra-long length, Peruvian Pima cotton is especially soft, durable, and highly resistant to pilling. Pima cotton is ideal for those who suffer from allergies, sensitive skin or chronic pain.
Unlike most commercial cotton, Peruvian Pima cotton is harvested entirely by hand to ensure that only the best quality is used. Not only is harvesting by hand more environmentally sound, it’s better for the cotton itself. Industrial harvesting tears the cotton fibres, giving it a yellowed hue and creating a scratchy texture that affect the smoothness of the final garment. Hand-picking comes with obvious benefits for the environment compared to machine-based harvesting, and the work is beneficial for the community as a source of local employment in these rural growing areas.
Textiles account for approximately 9% of annual microplastic losses to the oceans ~ by choosing natural plant based fibres you are decreasing the amount of microplastic pollution that make their way into the water.
In all transparency, we recognize that our underwear and a few other styles are made up of 91% certified organic Pima cotton blended with 9% spandex. It's hard to get around this when it comes to clothing that needs stretch for comfort and longevity, but we have tried our best to create products that are long lasting so we consume less. By hand washing and air drying our clothing, especially our items that do have synthetic fibres, we can also prevent our clothing from breaking down as quickly and releasing micro plastics into our earth and water ways.
Photos courtesy of Bergman Rivera our main certified organic Pima cotton yarn supplier.
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