September is a great time to discover, or even rediscover, the meaning of organic. The Organic Trade Association (OTA) sponsors Organic Harvest Month in September to celebrate agricultural products, such as cotton, that are grown using methods and materials that have a low impact on our environment. In the spirit of Organic Harvest Month and our shared commitment to organic products, we are featuring our organic Supima® Collection.
Our Supima® Collection and our Supima® Pointille gets its luscious smoothness from pure, organic pima cotton grown in the US. American pima has lustrous long-staple fibers that create exceptionally strong, silky yarns. Longer fibers mean fewer ends, so fabric woven from pima cotton is far less likely to pill, ensuring that your bedding will stay smooth and comfortable wash after wash. Only fabrics made from 100% American pima can use the brand name Supima, and only 1% of all American pima cotton is certified organic. And even better, it is certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) which means it produced using the toughest textile standards in the world.
What does Supima mean?
The name "Supima®" is a licensed trademark owned by Supima and its members. It is used to promote textile and apparel products made of 100% American Pima cotton, and is strictly controlled by the grower organization. The name "Supima" is a portmanteau of Superior Pima.
What is Pima cotton?
Pima cotton is a generic name for extra-long staple (ELS) cotton grown in the U.S., Australia, Peru and in very limited production in a few other locations around the world. Pima is from the gossypium barbadense species, compared to gossypium hirsutum, to which upland cotton belongs. The primary differences between Pima (ELS growths) cotton and upland cotton are staple length, strength of the fiber and fineness of the fiber. In the U.S., cotton is considered to be ELS or American Pima if it is an inch and 3/8 or longer. Its strength and uniformity measurements are considerably higher than those of upland cotton.
What is the difference between Pima and Supima?
The name "Pima" is the generic term generally applied to ELS cotton grown in the U.S., Peru, Israel and Australia. The name was given to the ELS cotton being grown in the Southwest U.S. in about 1910. It had previously been called American-Egyptian cotton but was renamed to honor the Pima Indians who were growing the cotton for the USDA in Sacaton, Arizona, where the government's ELS breeding program was being conducted. "Supima" is the trademark name used to promote and market textile and apparel products made with 100% American Pima cotton. Supima provides licensing agreements to textile mills, manufacturers and brands/retailers for the expressed purpose of promoting specific apparel and textile products in high-end retail outlets. Industry people often refer to American Pima cotton as "Supima cotton."
What's the difference between Supima and Egyptian cotton?
All cotton grown in Egypt is "Egyptian" but it is not all ELS cotton. Egypt is one of the largest producers of ELS cotton in the world, but it consumes much of what it produces. The majority of what it exports is long staple cotton, not ELS cotton. However, the description "Egyptian cotton" conjures in the mind of many consumers the image of the very finest and longest cottons in the world. Egypt does produce and sell some of the best ELS cotton in the world, but it amounts to only about 7% of annual global ELS/LS cotton exports, and is approximately 25% of Egyptian cotton exports. Supima cotton has become the cotton of choice among the world's fine-count yarn spinners.
Why is Supima a premium cotton?
Supima accounts for only about three percent of annual cotton production in the United States. Its fineness and longer staple length makes Supima a premium cotton fiber. It is used to spin finer count yarns, which can be knitted or woven into softer, finer and more luxurious fabrics. It is grown in select areas of the far west and southwest U.S. where the cotton can benefit from a long growing season in a hot, dry climate. Supima cotton is grown exclusively on furrowed rows where growers can closely regulate irrigation and other inputs. Its production costs can vary in different states and regions, but it generally runs a little more expensive as upland cotton costs in the same area due to extra management of the crop. Ginning is more expensive because Pima cotton is roller-ginned, not saw-ginned like upland cotton. Supima is grown in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas.
How do Supima products benefit the consumer?
Products made from 100% American Pima - Supima cotton will have superior strength to a product made of upland cotton or upland/Pima blended cottons, which will improve the durability and increase the lifespan of the textile and apparel products. Because of the fineness of Supima cotton, more fibers can be spun into a yarn of a given count, which will enhance the feel and softness, drapeability and brilliance of color of a fabric.