SUPPLY CHAIN AND SUPIMA COTTON

“Cotton field in north Alabama”, 2012. Photograph by Rinne Allen.  

Cotton has been at the heart of our business for over two decades. First in the form of recycled cotton t-shirts, and since 2005, in partnership with our Texas farmers and North Carolina converters. This plant, and its fiber, are rooted in the complicated history of our region and the work of our company. It shapes the future of our organization.  

In the early years, Alabama Chanin designs were produced using recycled fabrics, mainly cotton jersey. In 2004, we began developing 100% organic cotton fabrics made from Texas-grown cotton in partnership with the Texas Organic Cotton Marketing Cooperative. Providing a seed-to-shelf US-made and organic product is one of our proudest accomplishments.  

“Field to Fiber Exhibit at the 2019 Project Threadways Symposium” by Rinne Allen

The difficult 2020 growing season for our west Texas farmers has resulted in a shortage of domestic organic cotton. To meet our supply needs, we are supporting additional growers at Supima®, an American-grown, extra-long staple cotton. Through this collaboration, we will continue to provide a quality product that is in line with our organization’s principles and standards. 

This has been a thoughtful process, making decisions that consider quality, sustainability, location, and the experience for our teams, guests, and planet. And while not grown organically, we believe in the high environmental and ethical production standards of Supima®. 

Our current offerings, online and in-store, are produced from the 2019 growing year of organic cotton. The Supima® fabric is currently being processed in collaboration with our production partners and will be entering our fabric inventory in the coming months. The different cotton stocks will be identified on our color cards going forward with OG-(color) for US Organic, SP-(color) for Supima®, and IO-(color) for Imported Organic Yarn that is knit in North Carolina.  

FabricOriginTypeAbbreviation
Medium-weight JerseyDomestic / TexasCertified Organic CottonOG
WaffleDomestic / TexasCertified Organic CottonOG
CanvasDomestic / TexasCertified Organic CottonOG
Supima® Cotton JerseyDomestic / New Mexico / Arizona / CaliforniaSupima® CottonSP
Lightweight JerseyImported / IndiaCertified Organic CottonIO
Lightweight RibImported / IndiaCertified Organic CottonIO
Heavyweight RibImported / IndiaCertified Organic CottonIO
French TerryImported / IndiaCertified Organic CottonIO

In the coming months, and as our supply chain expands, tags and stickers will begin to appear on garments and fabric that describe the origin of each fabric. If you have any questions at all, please reach out to us at 256-760-1090 or email orders@alabamachanin.com

Learn more below about Supima® cotton and their commitment to quality and transparency below. 

“Field of Supima cotton” courtesy of Supima®

About Supima 

Supima® is a rare variety that represents the top 1% of cotton grown in the world. As an extra-long staple cotton, it creates a soft, high-quality fabric that holds its color well. Extra-long staple cotton is known for its strength and fineness, producing a beautifully draped fabric with no pilling.  

“Supima cotton bolls” courtesy of Supima®

Its origins can be traced back to 1911 in Sacaton, Arizona, where the variety was developed and named in honor of the region’s Pima Indians. Supima® continues to be 100% American grown and now is cultivated on over 500 multi-generational family farms. Bred for the desert, Supima® needs a dry, hot climate where water application can be controlled to produce the optimum quality. For this reason, Supima® is only grown in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California.  

“Aerial view of fields and infrastructure” courtesy of Supima® 

Supima® cotton carries with it a forensic fingerprint, provided by Oritain who scientifically verifies the fiber’s origin; providing transparency and traceability through the supply chain. Approximately 90% of Supima® cotton is grown in California, which is recognized for having the strictest environmental agricultural standards in the world.   

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