I work with GOTS-Certified Organic Cozy Cotton Flannel, Cotton Double Gauze, Organic Linen Fabrics and sometimes Supima® cotton when available.
GOTS certification is the world standard. As a shibori artist, I want my customers to see the most beautiful gradients and depth of color on their Modern Shibori pieces. Working on GOTS-certified fabrics not only is a daily pleasure for me, but the shibori designs almost look like they glow with the right natural dyes. Additionally, color retention is long lasting on organic fabrics.
When possible and available, I’ll use Supima cotton for my shibori clothing. What’s the benefit of Supima®? The short answer is, it’s an extra long staple (fiber) that’s slow milled with care and thought to the whole plant. The resulting fiber is luxurious, soft, very strong and great color retention when dyed. Supima® is a superior cleaner yarn. What does this mean for you? Your Modern Shibori garment is super soft, will continue to soften with age, and will last a very long time. You’ll be able to pass down your Modern Shibori pieces unless they get “borrowed” first :-)
There are so many benefits in the supply chain of Supima® cotton production too.
Water and Soil Conservation. To maximize water-use efficiency, cotton fields are laser-leveled. This leads to knowledge regarding the topography and make-up of the soil. Farmers then select the best method for irrigating the crop; either through drip irrigation, which directly feeds the plant only, or flood irrigation to restore moisture to the soil, which has the added benefits of replenishing aquifers, promoting soil health and fostering wildlife.
Whole use of cotton plant. Stalks, stems and leaves are sent to the local cattle industry for use as bedding. One of the most valuable bi-products of the seed is cottonseed oil. It’s considered a premium oil because it is flavorless, odorless, and has a high flash point. Additionally, after crushing the seed to extract the oil, the seed hull is an important source of protein that can be integrated into feed mixes for livestock. As a premium, extra-long staple cotton, great care is taken to preserve the fiber’s premium qualities. This is particularly evident during the ginning process, when the seed is removed from the fiber. All Supima® cotton is ginned on “roller gins” that operate at much lower speeds in order to gently separate the fiber from the seed. In contrast, regular cotton is processed by high-speed “saw gins” which use a more aggressive system to break the fiber away from the seed.
Traceability. The SUPIMA® trademark is the consumers’ guarantee that the branded textile product they are buying contains the finest U.S.- Grown Pima Cotton. By licensing the entire supply chain (that’s right, the entire supply chain) SUPIMA® provides added guarantee to customers that SUPIMA® trademarked goods are made with 100% U.S. Pima cotton of the highest quality.
Never Bamboo. I never work with bamboo because bamboo fabric demands a tremendous amount of energy and noxious chemicals to breakdown the stalks to the soft fabric you may be familiar with. Just think of the material, bamboo’s used as scaffolding throughout Asia so it’s super durable and has great tensile strength. Now just imagine the amount of energy and chemicals it takes to break that stalk down to a soft knit fiber.