Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Why Supima® Cotton is so Special

by Fred Victor

Shopping for bed linens means you are being confronted with dozens of selections in the market. Wonder if Egyptian cotton? Pima cotton? Supima cotton? Generally, there are three aspects that determine the quality and feel of a bed linen. Firstly, the fiber from which it is made of. Secondly, how the fabric is woven. Thirdly, the thread count.

No doubt, we hear about Egyptian cotton and you might have wondered what the difference is between the Supima and Egyptian cotton. All cotton grown in Egypt is considered "Egyptian", but it is not all considered Extra-Long Staple (ELS) cotton. Egypt is one of the largest producers of ELS cotton in the world, but it regularly consumes much of what it produces and exports very little ELS cotton only. When we see the word "Egyptian cotton", most people think of it as very fine and long staple, that is not the case. It actually accounts for less than 15% of annual global ELS cotton exports.

Literally, Pima cotton is a generic name for ELS cotton which grown mostly in the United States, Australia, and Peru. Pima comes from the gossypium barbadense species, compared to gossypium hirsutum. The gossypium hirsutum variety is commonly called upland cotton and is a shorter in length and strength. ELS cotton is at least an inch and 3/8 or longer. U.S. Pima cotton fiber is among the longest cotton staple lengths in the world with an average length exceeding 1 7/16".

The name "Supima®” is a licensed trademark owned by Supima and its members. It is used to promote textile and apparel products made of 100% American Pima cotton. As the name "Supima®" implies, it is the abbreviation for Superior Pima.

Higher strength fiber, longer fiber length and ultrafine fibre … are the integral parts of Supima® cotton, such incredibly fine cotton allows more fibres to be spun into a yarn of a given count, thus enhancing the feel and softness, drapeability and brilliance of fabric colour.

To compare Supima® with conventional cottons, Supima® cotton fiber is 45% stronger, 35% longer and 18% more fibers per cross section.

Supima® is the trademark name that guarantees that the product is made of 100% American Pima cotton. Frankly speaking, just the word “cotton” on the label does not assure you that it is top quality cotton in the linen.


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