Tell me which Cotton you wear I will tell you…By Be Quality | Comments: 0 | December 9, 2020
Have you ever thought about the different types of cotton that can be used to make the garments you wear?
Can you recognize the difference between them? And do you choose a garment by the quality of the cotton used? As the apples, or the roses, the cotton plants grow in many species, producing fibres with different length, luster, strength, diameter, softness and colour.
For instance, it’s interesting to know that the making of cotton fabric is known since at least 8000 years. The oldest fragments of cotton fabric have been found in Perú dated back to 6000 BC. Today, thanks to the industrialization of the textile process, the cotton became the most used natural fibre in the world.
How does the cotton fibre grow?
The cotton fibres grow as a ‘beard’ around the seeds of the plant to protect them and increase the possibilities of reproduction of the species.
Firstly, these fibres are cut from the seed. Next, they are cleaned and transformed in a long process to create the yarns and thne fabrics used to make our garments.
Types of Cotton
The main classification of the cotton fibres considers its Fibre Length:
ELS- Extra Long Staple Cotton.
These are families of cotton that naturally produce the longest cotton fibres, with a minimum length of 34,9 mm. ELS cottons account around the 3% of global cotton production.
Not only the fibres are longer, but are finer and more resistant than the common cotton.
To this cathegory belongs the Pima Cotton and the Egyptian cotton, better know as Makò. In both cases its scientific name is Gossypium barbadense.
The Pima cotton is the finest cotton in the world, used mainly in luxury brands, as per its unique softness & luster. Garments made in pima cotton are a great pleasure to wear. Furthermore, these garments are much more resistant to pilling, wrinkling, and wearing out during normal use. The pima cotton is original from Perú, and grows also in USA and Australia.
LS- Long Staple Cotton.
The Tangüis cotton family is one excelent example of a Long Staple cotton. The length of it’s fibre goes from 29 mm through 33 mm.
It is a very good choice, as it has a good quality and softness. Furthermore, the Tangüis cotton is also more resistant to pilling, wrinkling, and wearing out during normal use in comparison to the commonly used cottons.
The production of LS cotton is around 5 % of the worlds production.
MS- Medium Staple Cotton.
It mainly grows in India, with a fibre’s length from 25,4 mm through 28,6 mm. Therefore, it’s a good alternative to the SS cotton. Meanwhile, it is on the range of a ‘cheap cotton’, it has a higher perfomance and quality.
SS- Short Staple Cotton.
It is the most common type of cotton in the fashion industry, and its length is under 26 mm. It’s production is around 80- 90% of the worlds production.
This type of cotton has short fibres, higher irregularities on the yarn, and fabric, and is weaker that the previous types of cotton. Consequently, the aspect of the fabrics is less uniform (can have knots, thicker spots, etc), it can break faster (holes on the garment), can be rough on the skin and creates high pilling, sometimes even after the first wash.
Upland Cotton- Gossypium Hirsutum- is one of the main Short Staple fibres used in the world.
In few words.
In conclusion, I would like to make some considerations about this subject.
As you may understand, the cotton price is the cheapest as the shorter the fibres are. On the other hand, the longer the fibres are (and as a consequence, the higher the quality is) the more expensive the cotton is.
Now you have seen that the cotton plants produce types of cotton with differences that can change the way you make shopping.
Certainly, it can also change the experience you have when wearing a cotton garment. Specially, if it is on an ELS or LS cotton.
Personally, I really hope you may always choose the best quality for you! You deserve it.
I invite you to consider that the higher is the quality you choose, the longer you can wear that garment.
Buy Less, Choose well, Make it Last, as Vivienne Westwood states.
Other concepts I would like you to consider:
Certainly, any of the families listed above can be Organic Cotton. Indeed, the certification is based mainly on how the plants grow, how is the fertilization on the fields, if and which pesticides & herbicides they use, etc. If you want to know more see our post dedicated to the organic cotton.
To finish, I recommend personally to pay special attention to the cotton grown on Uzkekistan as per the impact on the Aral Sea and the forced labour and in a China, as per forced labour on the Uyghur community.