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The Cashmere of Cottons

Posted on 28 February 2016

Gossypium Barbadense.  That's the Latin name for a variety of extra long staple cotton that eventually became what we know as Pima Cotton today.  I knew that six years of Latin class would pay off eventually...

Cotton has been ginned and spun and woven into garments for most of recorded time.  But until relatively recently, it was rough and gnarly.  No one likes gnarly clothes.  

Like most crops, cotton has a long history of being blended and cross-bred to make a better crop with each planting.  Right after we kicked the Brits out of the USA, some planters from Barbados introduced Gossypium Barbadense to the Sea Islands of Georgia and South Carolina.  Something about the climate there made this cotton grow really long, silky fibers.  This makes for super soft fabrics that are stronger and hold color better.  

After a really bad boll weevil infestation in the 1920's that decimated Sea Island cotton production forever, the USDA and a group of farmers started blending Gossypium Barbadense with other cottons at a test facility in Arizona.  The best cotton that came out of their research was planted by a group of local Pima Indians, so the crop was named in honor of them.  

But enough boring stuff like Latin and history...

Pima cotton is still the softest and most durable cotton available, which is why we use it to make our bow ties, pocket squares, and t-shirts.  Our shirts are seriously the softest t-shirts you'll ever wear.  If you find one softer, email Hunter to let him know (hunter@ollyoxen.com).    

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