Supima Cotton: Quality and Responsibility
High quality, traceable, and farmed in an environmentally responsible way, here’s why we’ve based our core collection on Californian Supima cotton.
We have been working with the world’s best cottons since 1860. We have always traced our raw materials to source to guarantee they are high quality and will lead to garments that are comfortable, durable and long-lasting. Over the last few decades we have been increasingly concerned that alongside pure quality, our cotton needs to be farmed in an environmentally responsible way. After a lot of research and development, we have come to believe that Supima cotton strikes the perfect balance.
Coming from the Gossypium Barbadense strain of cotton, which is the same as the world's finest and rarest cotton, Sea Island Cotton, Supima is also one of the world’s finest and rarest.To put its quality in context, long-staple cotton makes up 3% of the world’s cotton supply. Supima meanwhile is just 0.5% and as an extra-long staple cotton, it has a staple length that’s 40% longer than standard long-staple cotton. This is one of the reasons we prefer it over organic cotton for example which tends to have a much shorter staple length. Supima fabrics are not only softer and more comfortable but they’re more durable and long-lasting too.
The other reason we prefer it is its level of traceability. We can trace all our Supima cotton to California which has some of the world’s strictest environmental regulations limiting the use of toxic pesticides and chemicals and closely managing water usage. California’s tight labour laws also mean the people involved in the process are treated well and paid properly.
We can in fact trace a large proportion of our Supima cotton to a single, family-owned farm in California’s San Joaquin Valley. Founded in 1920, the farm is unique because it controls the entire process, from growing the crop through to ginning and quality control.
The farm also has outstanding environmental and ethical standards which go beyond the state requirements. It regularly rotates its crop to allow the soil to replenish its nutrients and employs GPS-guided tractors to prevent soil compaction. It uses drip irrigation to reduce water use while closely managing groundwater levels. It provides regular pesticide reports and also removes environmentally sensitive land from agricultural use, planting species that will improve the surrounding natural environment as part of a voluntary conservation scheme.
Supima cotton currently accounts for 42% of our total cotton production and we use it for several of our core products including the Classic T-shirt, the Riviera Polo Shirt and the Riviera T-shirt. We are increasing our use of it season on season because, we believe, it is the perfect balance between environmentally responsible farming methods and exceptionally high-quality cotton.