In the world, there are essentially 2 types of cotton plants; Gossypium Hirsutum and Gossypium Barbadense. Gossypium Hirsutum makes up 97% of the cotton consumers are familiar with and is the standard cotton found in most cotton products sold globally. The last 3% is any extra-long staple variety (or ELS), which includes Pima cotton. However, within the 3% of ELS (extra-long staple) cotton, the Superior Pima cotton, or Supima® cotton, makes up less than 1% of the world's cotton.
Both Pima and Supima® come from the original Pima cotton plant. This cotton variety makes up around 3% of cotton grown globally and is universally accepted as the top grade of cotton available. The difference between Supima® and Pima though is within that strand. Supima® stands for ‘Superior Pima’ and is molecularly verified by Oritain to ensure that it is 100% extra-long staple cotton. Oritain does this by testing the ELS fibers through forensic science. Regular Pima cotton can be watered down by blending it with inferior cotton to increase yields and lower production costs, making it impossible to verify and severely degrading the final product. Therefore, having the official Supima® tag on a garment is the only way to ensure you get 100% Superior Pima cotton verified by molecular testing.
Pima vs Non-Pima Cotton
A quick Google search for “cotton plant” will open a wide range of topics. For a simple plant, the diversity of applications and uses of the plant are almost endless. Similar to a tomato, there are many varieties, many applications, and many characteristics which result in completely different raw materials. Cotton is the primary natural fiber used by humans today, amounting to about 80% of the world’s natural fiber production. However, not all cottons are created equally, and many are grown in different environments that produce different levels of quality.
The Supima® trademark is the consumers’ guarantee that the branded textile product they are buying contains U.S.- Grown Pima Cotton. By licensing the entire supply chain (that’s right, the entire supply chain) Supima® provides added assurance to customers that Supima® trademarked goods are made with 100% U.S. Pima cotton.
Only Supima® licensees are authorized to use the official Supima® Hang tag. There is added value to using the Supima® trademark- it means a brand is associated with the highest quality apparel. To maintain the premium focus of the trademark, the Supima® license is non-transferable. This allows Supima® visibility throughout the supply chain of the use of its trademark, as well as to control the quality and integrity of products that bear the Supima® name.
When building our company it was imperative to us that we use Supima® cotton as it certifies that we are dedicated to providing sustainable and high-quality products to our wholesale customers. Being eco-friendly when it comes to producing garments should not be an option or an afterthought, rather it should be at the forefront of one's standard of production.
Our Supply Chain
Developing the perfect supply chain is no easy task and as good as ours is, it requires constant attention and analysis. It takes diligence to balance a production process that won't compromise our values and produce the best quality of product. We have complete transparency into our entire supply chain and are proud of that. But for as much as we have done, there will always be more that we can do. We have continued to expand each step of analysis from our farms to our final garments. Complete honesty and transparency will be what drives change in the clothing industry - we believe that it should be required by consumers that their garment suppliers have a clear and thorough supply chain.