Cotton textile is one of the oldest and most used fabrics around the globe and that is why it is widely considered as the foundation of the fashion industry. Today, more than one-third of all textiles are made of cotton and about 60% of the world’s cotton production is used for clothing of any type.
The story so far: A look back at the most popular fabric’s exciting milestones
Cotton is a fluffy fiber that grows around the seeds of the cotton plants. After it has been collected and cleaned it is spun into yarn or thread which is used to make this very popular textile.
Many cultures in both the Old and New World used cotton to create fabrics although they never interacted with each other. The earliest evidence for the use of cotton fibers in textiles can be traced back to India, dating to approximately 5000 BC.
Herodotus refers to Indian cotton in the 5th century BC and the armies of Alexander the Great who invaded India began to wear cotton clothes because they were more comfortable compared to wool.
Cotton didn’t make its way to Europe in full force until the 8th century and the Muslim conquest of Spain when its popularity started to rise.
During the Renaissance and the Enlightenment Years, cotton was already in demand in Europe, especially France where the heart of the whole European textile industry was starting to beat.
The American cotton industry began to grow with the invention of the cotton gin in 1793, by Eli Whitney, a pioneering machine that increased the speed at which cotton seeds could be removed. That was the beginning of the textiles’ industrialization and the point when cotton fabric had its international breakthrough!
Cotton’s presence in world fashion has been dithyrambic ever since, remaining always one of the most popular and highly produced fabrics in the world.
World cotton production today is around 25 million tonnes growing in 80 countries. It is the backbone of textile market and extremely important for farmers in low-income countries such as India which is the largest producer of cotton today.
‘’Cotton: The fabric of our lives’’
Cotton’s unique characteristics have transformed it into the most massively used fabric globally! It is lightweight, durable, absorbent, soft, and unheated. Our skin loves it because it allows it to “breathe”. Its elasticity makes it extremely comfortable and its impeccable fit on the body leaves the shape of the garment untouched!
Additionally, it is very easy to wash due to its tear-resistant fibers when wet, it dries fast, it can be hot-ironed, and it is negative to any electrostatic charge.
Due to its highly breathing and absorbing properties, cotton is mainly used to make warm-weather clothes, and its softness, as well as its draping properties, make it a popular choice for any occasion. Casual, business, or formal.
Generally, cotton is not considered as an expensive textile fiber, with this being one of the many reasons behind its popularity. The type of cotton and the amount of sustainability in its production process designate its final price.
Cotton can be used to make any type of textile for consumer or industrial use.
About 75% of the clothing pieces produced globally contain some amount of cotton. As forementioned, cotton is the most widely used fabric in the world, that can be easily spun into an impressive number of different types of products, like blue jeans, t-shirts, bathrobes, sheets, towels, blankets, curtains, medical supplies e.t.c.
Re-inventing the fashion industry through cotton.
Cotton is strongly connected to several breakthrough changes concerning culture, machines, and of course fashion. Its valuable characteristics and versatility were an…oasis for the people of fashion who were seeking new patterns and designs. Its biggest contribution to fashion was the fact that it massively expanded its influence in society, and it paved the way for a whole new era, welcoming new types of fabrics, fibers, and clothing in general, gradually shaping the fashion world the way we all know it today.
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