This cotton is sincerely the reason our clothing line was started. Sarah Danu met Sally Fox by chance at an event in Oakland, California in 2018 and fell in love with Sally's naturally colorful organic cotton. Sadly, due to Sally not producing fabric at the moment, this collection is retiring and when it is sold out, it is sold out. If Sally produces more fabric, we will be very interested to buy it but Sally says more fabric is not in the works for now.
Colorful cotton has been around since at least 2700 BC and is still used widely by indigenous people of South America, where it was historically most popular, for handspun clothing. For more history, read this blog post (coming soon!).
Naturally colorful cotton was hot in the 90s and even sold by popular, huge USA clothing brands but due to offshoring and the rise of fast fashion, sadly fell out of circulation.
Sally's cotton has numerous social and environmental advantages. No dye is needed to achieve a beautiful color — a color with more depth than could ever be achieved with dye. Dye is often the most toxic step in clothing production so this is a wonderful environmental and social boon. This plant also maintains much of the pest and disease resistance of its wild ancestors eliminating the reasoning for toxic pesticides and insecticides. It requires much less water to be farmed than conventional white cotton. Also, if you want to naturally dye it, it's tannins hold the color of organic plant dye better than white cotton achieving deeper and more colorfast naturally dyed pieces as you can see with our organic madder root red collection.
What Sally did that put this plant on the map as a viable large scale option for modern clothing was selectively breed it's fibers to be longer and stronger until they could be spun on a machine and not just by handspinners. She also selected plants that held their color well and even deepens ever so slightly to the watchful eye.