It all starts at the cotton fields.
When we want to produce a pair of jeans, we first need to find the denim we want to use from the denim mills. However, this is actually the third step in our full supply chain. To make the denim, the fabric weavers need cotton yarns, and in turn the cotton yarn spinners need cotton. Hence, it all starts in the cotton fields. Cotton makes up 48% of the textile production today, and is the main ingredient used in traditional denim and most of our tops. The cotton plant requires a long growing season of 120 – 180 days, before it is harvested and cleaned.
Then, it goes through a ginning process, which is to separate the cotton fiber from the seed. The seed may be reused to grow more cotton, or used to produce cottonseed oil and meal. For fabric weavers there are a variety of factors to consider when deciding where to source the cotton from. For many, price is the deciding factor. Cotton is traded in an extremely price-sensitive market. The US is to date the largest exporter of cotton, however this has arguably only been possible due to massive subsidiaries by the US government.
The premium fabric mills are however less concerned with the price of the cotton, and pay more attention to the quality of the cotton. Raw cotton farming is actually quite technical, and the properties of the cotton can be classified under a variety of different parameters such as fiber length, strength, micronaire, color and cleanness. It all depends on the skills of the farmers, and the climate in which the cotton grows in. The fabric weavers and cotton yarn spinners consider all these aspects when deciding which type of cotton they want to use for a specific fabric.
This is where we receive cotton
The raw cotton used in the fabrics in our products are to date sourced from the US, Australia, Mexico, Turkey, Pakistan, Greece, Brazil, Spain, Zimbabwe and Cameroon. Cotton farmers usually sells the raw cotton to cotton trader, who in turn sells the cotton further up the supply chain: step 2. the cotton yarn spinners.