When browsing through the shelves of fashion stores, it’s impossible not to notice the array of colors in different fabrics. Vibrant reds, dazzling blues, sparkling greens, or the deepest blacks, these hues create distinct characteristics for each type of fabric.
However, few are aware that color is the major culprit when it comes to maintaining a clean and natural environment. Synthetic dyes used in the fashion industry contain harmful chemicals that can be detrimental to both health and the environment. But now, there is a type of fabric known as “color grown cotton” emerging as a solution, producing beautiful and durable fibers with natural hues. And the interesting part is that this source of color-grown cotton has emerged and developed in Vietnam.
1. Learn about organic color grown cotton
1.1. What is color grown cotton?
Color Grown Cotton, also known as naturally colored cotton, is a type of cotton that is grown with its natural color intact, without the need for dyeing using harmful chemicals. This makes color grown cotton an environmentally friendly and sustainable choice in the fashion industry.
Naturally colored cotton has existed for 5,000 years, with its origins traced back to the Andes Mountains in South America. The color range of organic color grown cotton includes various natural shades such as green, yellow, blue, and pink, although most commonly it is brown. These are the natural pigments present in the cotton that give it its distinct natural colors.
For example, the natural green pigment is produced from caffeine acid found in the suberin layer of the cotton. The brown and tan shades come from non-tannin compounds present in the fiber cells of the cotton. Currently, the primary supply of naturally colored cotton comes from Colombia, where it is produced by indigenous communities in South America.
Although organic color grown cotton has shorter fiber length, making it less popular, the longer white cotton fibers are preferred for easier harvesting, spinning, and dyeing, which is why white cotton dominates the industry.
By the 1990s, most naturally colored cotton varieties in Central and South America, Africa, and Asia were replaced with commercial white cotton varieties. Nowadays, natural color grown cotton is extremely rare due to the complex and expensive cultivation and processing methods involved.
2. The cultivation process
The cultivation process of naturally colored cotton involves a series of steps, including selecting the varieties, planting, harvesting, and fiber processing. To achieve the distinct natural colors, cotton growers must choose varieties that have the ability to produce fibers with rich natural hues. The cultivation of naturally colored cotton requires care and patience from the farmers to ensure the growth and quality of the plants.
3. Environmental friendliness compared to white cotton
The use of Color Grown Cotton or naturally colored cotton offers several environmental benefits compared to white cotton dyed with chemicals:
- Conventional white cotton production involves the use of numerous chemicals, but when transitioning to the use of naturally colored cotton, a significant portion of these chemicals is eliminated. As color grown cotton does not require dyeing and its colors are 100% natural, the resulting products have deeper, purer, and more durable hues. This not only reduces the risk of exposure to harmful chemicals but also creates end products with extended longevity.
- The switch to color grown cotton also brings good news for ecologists. Conventional white cotton often requires more pesticide use, and the traditional production process may involve hundreds of chemicals to maintain. Additionally, white cotton is dyed with toxic chemicals. Both of these processes contribute to water waste and deplete our limited resources. In contrast, color grown cotton can be grown using organic methods and requires less water. When color grown cotton fabric is disposed of, it can biodegrade without causing pollution in the surrounding environment.
With such environmentally friendly characteristics, color grown cotton not only protects the environment but also serves as a sustainable choice. With its natural colorfastness, the final products have enhanced aesthetics and increased durability.
4. Advantages of color grown cotton fabric
Versatility and Flexibility
With its diverse range of natural colors and the ability to adapt to various design styles, color grown cotton fabric is highly versatile and flexible. It can be used to create fashion products, home furnishings, accessories, and many other applications, catering to the needs and preferences of a diverse range of consumers.
Natural and breathable
Cotton fabric possesses breathable properties, providing a cool and comfortable feel to the skin during usage. This is particularly important in hot and humid environments, where cotton fabric absorbs and wicks away sweat, allowing the body to maintain breathability.
Due to its natural characteristics and absence of irritating chemicals, cotton fabric often causes minimal allergies and is suitable for individuals with sensitive or easily irritated skin. This is an important benefit for the health and comfort of the users.
Color grown cotton fabric has excellent sweat absorption capabilities, helping the body feel dry and comfortable. This is particularly advantageous during physical activities or in hot and humid tropical environments.
Durability and easy care
Color grown cotton fabric is highly durable and easy to care for. It exhibits good resistance to shrinkage and is less prone to pilling, allowing the final products to maintain their shape and durability after multiple uses and washes. Additionally, cotton fabric is easy to wash and clean, without requiring complicated procedures or harsh chemicals.
5. Applications of color grown cotton fabric
- Apparel Manufacturing: Color grown cotton fabric is used to create fashion products such as shirts, dresses, jeans, sweaters, jackets, and various other types of clothing. With its natural colors and softness, it provides a comfortable and natural feel for the wearer.
- Home Goods and Accessories Design: The fabric is also applied in the production of items like handbags, hats, scarves, gloves, socks, caps, and other fashion accessories. This creates a diverse selection and a natural style for consumers.
- Decoration and Performance Costumes: With its diverse and natural color properties, the fabric is used in interior decoration, such as curtains, drapes, pillow covers, and table linens. Additionally, in artistic performances, like fashion runways, color grown cotton serves as a high-quality fiber source to create unique and standout costumes.
6. Care Instructions
To properly care for color grown cotton fabric, it is recommended to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Generally, it is advised to wash it in cold or lukewarm water to preserve the natural color without fading. Additionally, using a gentle detergent that does not contain harsh bleaching agents is also crucial to protect the color and quality of the product.
Why is color grown cotton considered environmentally friendly?
naturally colored cotton does not require dyeing with harmful chemicals, reducing environmental pollution and the risk of exposure to harmful substances for humans.
What are the primary colors of color grown cotton fiber?
Color grown cotton fiber comes in diverse colors, including brown, green, yellow, pink, and red.
Is color grown cotton fiber more expensive than regular cotton?
Yes, naturally colored cotton fiber is generally more expensive due to its complex cultivation and production processes.
Which brands produce products from color grown cotton fiber?
Some renowned brands have utilized naturally colored cotton fiber in their products, including Patagonia, Eileen Fisher, and Indigenous.