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Sea Island Cotton v. Egyptian Cotton

Kuro

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Originally Posted by FidelCashflow

That said, its pretty damn hard to make a decision based on buzzwords that people are throwing around. See and feel the fabrics, then decide.


Since there doesn't seem to be a consensus I think this is probably the best approach. Thanks all!
 

binge

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Originally Posted by FidelCashflow
Lots of non-sea island cotton is labelled "sea island" or "sea island quality" as a marketing ploy.

...

That said, its pretty damn hard to make a decision based on buzzwords that people are throwing around. See and feel the fabrics, then decide.


+1

That's pretty much the response I got from my tailor when I was flipping through his shirting books. He had some lovely 2x2 160 cottons and when I asked about "Sea Island", he smiled a bit and said that the term was so over-used, abused and slapped on any extra-fine cotton that he doesn't even bother with the label any more and just recommends going by the look and feel of the fabric.
 

ArthurKlass

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"Sea Island Cotton" - is cotton that is harvested on the Sea Islands off the coast of Georgia, U.S., and when properly woven and finished could feel as smooth and luxurious as silk. It is the longest cotton fibre, and although it feels very delicate it is extremely durable - resulting in clothing that could last a generation or more.

Egyptian cotton is cotton that is grown in Egypt, and if woven and finished in Switzerland could result in a fine product - but will never feel as silky as Sea-Island cotton.
 

comrade

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"Sea Island Cotton" - is cotton that is harvested on the  Sea Islands off the coast of Georgia, U.S., and when properly woven and finished could feel as smooth and luxurious as silk. It is the longest cotton fibre, and although it feels very delicate it is extremely durable - resulting in clothing that could last a generation or more.

Egyptian cotton is cotton that is grown in Egypt, and if woven and finished in Switzerland could result in a fine product - but will never feel as silky as Sea-Island cotton.


You are correct. After 3+ years of ignorance posted in this thread. Hasn't any one here heard of Wikipedia?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gossypium_barbadense
 

ARdrgz

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I know this is an old forum, but when I read some of the replies, I just had to jump in. I'm a historian from the town where Sea Island Cotton originated so I've done some extensive research on the stuff. Here's a rundown:

True Sea Island Cotton no longer exists today. First introduced by William Elliot in the very late part of the 18th century, he brought seeds from Barbados and began planting the crop on the outer islands off the coast of South Carolina, not Georgia. By cross breeding to attain longer, softer fibers Sea Island Cotton was born. Its quality far exceeded today's Egyptian Cotton making it the finest cotton on Earth. Eventually as the crop grew in popularity, planters did later begin planting in along the outer islands of Georgia as well, but strictly to what's today considered the "lowcountry". The greatest concentration of Sea Island Cotton plantations were found in Beaufort, South Carolina making the plantation owners there by far the wealthiest in the region. Sea Island Cotton was praised for its light, silky texture was almost transparent in appearance and was primarily used for making men's shirts and ladie's nightgowns/undergarments. In 1917, the lowcountry was invaded by the boll weevil and is held responsible for driving the precious crop to extinction.


If you were to come across a Sea Island Cotton product today, understand that the term "Sea Island" cannot be regulated! Barbados Cotton is its closest cousin and still is finer than Egyptian Cotton. For example, most Barbados cotton shirts retail around $230.00
 

Businessness

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I ******* love the nerdy conversations about details and fabric on this forum. Now that I have the information available all I need to do is find a supplier so I can sew luxurious undergarments myself and not give an arm, a leg, and kidney to Zimmerli et al
 

MyOtherLife

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Shirting made of this cotton, whatever you wish to call it, can also have a wonderful shimmer to it. Some gents may find the shimmer not to their liking while others do.
 

JeffHarris1776

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Good day gentlemen. I am happy to address this topic in some detail. Before answering this question it is important to understand a few basics. Traditional cotton shirts are made from a type of cotton called short staple, Upland cotton which have an average staple length of between 26 and 27 mm. When looking for the next level we get into the category called extra long staple cotton or ELS which has a minimum fiber length of 34.925 mm and can even exceed 40 mm. ELS varieties are prized as high quality cotton material because they offer superior strength so they last longer, increased uniformity, offer a high lustre/shine, and are typically softer. (Also keep in mind that other factors such as the weave a shirt has influences the final outcome.) Most notable of the ELS varieties include Pima (aka American Supima), Egyptian Giza 45, Sea Island, Indian Suvin, Chinese Xinjiang, and Zimbabwe cotton, and by the way each of the above are sourced from the Gossypium barbadense species of cotton so the variety and unique differences comes down to the climate and conditions that Gossypium barbadense are grown in.
Below I will go into detail about the major players but things that they all have in common again are that they are sourced from the same species of cotton, they are all ELS, . Please remember that all of these ELS cottons are high quality, so getting the opportunity to choose from them is a good situation to be in and its hard to go wrong.
* Pima is named after the Pima, a group of American Indians who first cultivated the plant in the U.S but it was originally cultivated in Peru, and though it is still grown in Peru, it is now also grown in the United States and Australia. It is also often marketed as Supima.
* Egyptian Cotton is "cotton grown in Egypt" and is known to be very good generally speaking. That being said the majority of Egyptian cotton is actually Long Strand Cotton, and the ELS is less common only making up 1/4 of Egyptian cotton exports. So remember, just because a cotton item is sourced from Egypt does not make it ELS. To expand on that lets take a small portion of Egypt and reference the 6 different variations on the Giza grade fibers. Long Staple Fibers (including Giza 86, Giza 89 and Giza 90) are very good; but there is also the even better premium Extra Long staple fibers ELS; (Giza 87, Giza 88, Giza 45). Egyptian Giza 45 being considered the highest quality of Egyptian cottons.
* Sea Island cotton was grown at Myrtle Bank on Hilton Head Island, then most famously cultivated in Barbados, was also produced in South Carolina and Georgia in an inferior form before the civil war, attempted to be grown in The Bahamas, and it is still grown in the West Indies today. Sea Island cotton is grown in limited quantities in Jamaica, Haiti, Antigua, Barbados, Guyana and Nevis. The original ELS variety is Gossypium barbadense species of cotton like the others listed above and below this but just like those of course cross breeding can and does occur. This is known as the rarest type of cotton officially because it makes-up less than 0.0004 per cent of global production, but remember that just like Pima, and Egpytian cotton it comes from Gossypium barbadense.
* Indian Suvin
is grown in the southern Indian sate of Tamil Naduis and is a hybrid of Sea Island cotton, (Gossypium barbadense) from St Vincent in the Caribbean, and an indigenous Indian variety called Sujatha.
This post is long enough so I am not going to go into the lesser known Chinese Xinjiang, and Zimbabwe cotton in much detail, I encourage you to do research if you are curious, but these are currently underrated markets that are primed for growth.
 

thegreatknot

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True Sea Island cotton may no longer exist.

Egyptian comes in many varieties from junk to fantastic. Fabrics made of Egyptian Cotton are softer, finer and last longer than any other cotton so are worth putting the slight extra bit of money into. Since finer yarns mean a higher thread count, the weave of the fabric is significantly stronger and lasts a lot longer than regular cotton. for Egyptian cotton bedding check our complete rang ? https://www.thegreatknot.com/bedding
 

sophiebufton

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I know this is an old forum, but when I read some of the replies, I just had to jump in. I'm a historian from the town where Sea Island Cotton originated so I've done some extensive research on the stuff. Here's a rundown:

True Sea Island Cotton no longer exists today. First introduced by William Elliot in the very late part of the 18th century, he brought seeds from Barbados and began planting the crop on the outer islands off the coast of South Carolina, not Georgia. By cross breeding to attain longer, softer fibers Sea Island Cotton was born. Its quality far exceeded today's Egyptian Cotton making it the finest cotton on Earth. Eventually as the crop grew in popularity, planters did later begin planting in along the outer islands of Georgia as well, but strictly to what's today considered the "lowcountry". The greatest concentration of Sea Island Cotton plantations were found in Beaufort, South Carolina making the plantation owners there by far the wealthiest in the region. Sea Island Cotton was praised for its light, silky texture was almost transparent in appearance and was primarily used for making men's shirts and ladie's nightgowns/undergarments. In 1917, the lowcountry was invaded by the boll weevil and is held responsible for driving the precious crop to extinction.


If you were to come across a Sea Island Cotton product today, understand that the term "Sea Island" cannot be regulated! Barbados Cotton is its closest cousin and still is finer than Egyptian Cotton. For example, most Barbados cotton shirts retail around $230.00
hello, i'm interested in your interpretation of the cross-breeding that took place in South Carolina and the boll weevil driving the crop to extinction (made rather vulnerable by monocropping). Firstly, I think there's a question of whether the species itself became extinct in the sea islands (as in every single plant was exterminated) or whether it was simply severe enough that it crashed the economy of the cotton industry... secondly, that west indian sea island cotton is very much still in existance and is considered to the same species, just another subvariety... and i'd be interested to learn about any historical evidence showing the exchange of new varieties of gossiupium barbadense between the sea island and the west indies as it may be that there was artificial selection occuring in both and simply in the west indies the islands were geographically separately enough that they didn't face the same exposure to the boll weevil. love to hear your thoughts on this
 

mhip

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hello, i'm interested in your interpretation of the cross-breeding that took place in South Carolina and the boll weevil driving the crop to extinction (made rather vulnerable by monocropping). Firstly, I think there's a question of whether the species itself became extinct in the sea islands (as in every single plant was exterminated) or whether it was simply severe enough that it crashed the economy of the cotton industry... secondly, that west indian sea island cotton is very much still in existance and is considered to the same species, just another subvariety... and i'd be interested to learn about any historical evidence showing the exchange of new varieties of gossiupium barbadense between the sea island and the west indies as it may be that there was artificial selection occuring in both and simply in the west indies the islands were geographically separately enough that they didn't face the same exposure to the boll weevil. love to hear your thoughts on this
That's a 10yr old post, and if you hover your cursor over their avatar, you'll see that person hasn't logged in in over 10 yrs.
 

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