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American Sea Island Cotton is widely known as the cotton of choice of the British royal family. In the late 16th century, Queen Elizabeth I valued the quality of this premium cotton so much that she prohibited any unauthorized exportation, which still continues today. Japan started importing this Sea Island Cotton when official permission was granted in 1975 under the conditions of strict quality control. Prince Charles and Princess Diana received a wedding gift of bed sheets and pillow cases made of Sea Island Cotton from Japan, and in 1990, Japan bestowed the gift of a handkerchief to Prince Philip of Edinburgh.
More recently, the shirts worn by famous movie character James Bond 007, are also made of Sea Island Cotton.
Sea Island Cotton is often described as soft like cashmere and with the luster of silk. If you wear it once, you will never want to wear anything else again.
Longer and thinner cotton fibers make for a smoother, softer, and more durable material. Sea Island Cotton has the longest average fiber length in the world. At 0.65%, Sea Island Cotton also contains the highest amounts of oils and fats, which contribute to the smoothness of the fabric. Because of its durability and strength, Sea Island Cotton has even been used as parachute material in the past.
The extra-long, high-grade cotton fibers of the Indian Suvin, Egyptian Giza, and American Pima varieties were created by crossing Sea Island Cotton with local species.
While cotton of a lesser quality can temporarily take on the touch and luster of Sea Island Cotton through processing, true Sea Island Cotton possesses these characteristics naturally and keeps them, even with repeated washing. High quality, the key characteristic of true Sea Island Cotton becomes apparent as it keeps it's quality the more it is used.
Only one company in each Switzerland and Japan respectively, are able to produce Sea Island Cotton from raw yarn. Famous brands such as, Turnball & Asser, John Smedley, Sunspel and Visvim, use Sea Island Cotton in their products.
The term Sea Island Cotton was created in the 18th century, when seeds of the Gossypium barbadense plant were brought from the West Indies to the Sea Island region. Along the coasts of South Carolina and Georgia in the United States is where they were grown until around 1930. However, in the mid-19th century, the cultivation of Sea Island Cotton was devastated by pests, and other cotton varieties began to dominate the market. As a result of continued research by the University of New Mexico, Sea Island Cotton was successfully grown again from 2013, and American Sea Island Cotton was commercialized in 2017.
Raw Sea Island Cotton is not widely distributed; it is only grown by authorized and contracted specialty farmers. This cultivated raw Sea Island Cotton is then all exported to Japan and spun by subcontractors. Therefore, the distribution volume of Sea Island Cotton only accounts for a few hundred thousandths of the total cotton production.
American Sea Island Cotton, known as the “Prince of Cotton” today, contains 100% of the DNA from the Sea Island Cotton grown in the West Indies. It features excellent fiber length, fineness, strength, color, and luster, while producing a higher yield than the Sea Island Cotton from the West Indies.
BARAILLE & GARMENTS underwear is made from American Sea Island Cotton, whose history and elegance can be felt simply by wearing it. Its softness, ability to absorb moisture, and durability make it the perfect choice for our collection.
Just like quality shoes, a custom-tailored shirt, or a special set of tableware, our underwear is made to let you enjoy the little things that enrich your life everyday.