The origins of Pima cotton
Pima (or Supima) cotton started its life in the early days of the 20th century as the American challenger to then-prevailing extra-long staple (ELS) Egyptian cotton. Back then, it was known as American-Egyptian cotton and advertised as "America’s luxury fiber." In the 1950s, American-Egyptian cotton was renamed Pima to honor the Pima Indians, who helped the US government research this cotton crop’s particulars. Though it originated in the US, Pima cotton grows in several other countries, most notably in Australia and Peru.
From natural to organic Supima cotton
A non-profit organization of American Pima cotton growers owns the Supima® trademark. Supima is used to promote the particular brand of textile and stands for Superior Pima. This is a 100% American breed of Pima cotton. The production of Supima accounts for only 3% of the total cotton production in the United States. Supima is premium cotton that yields brighter, silkier, and more durable fabric than any other cotton on the market. One distinguishes it from other cotton by the staple length and the strength of the fiber.
Organic Supima is a particular type of Pima cotton grown to the Global Organic Textile Standards (GOTS). According to the latter standards organization, only 1% of all Supima cotton qualifies as organic.
What’s in it for consumers like you?
First of all, organic Supima makes for the most durable cotton on the market. While it conforms to all the requirements of organic textile, it also has all the qualities of consumer-grade Supima cotton. Secondly, the bedding lasts significantly longer while retaining its original properties of silkiness and color brilliance. Finally, it is resistant to pilling and retains its quality longer.
Because organic Supima is a rare ELS cotton breed, it is also harder to weave and spin. This difficulty, in turn, leads to a significant price premium. However, due to the fiber’s strength and durability and its resistance to pilling, it has a longer life. This makes it a good value over time.
Only a few select brands of bedding manufacturers carry organic Supima products.