At Impact Trading and Cotton Roots we sell, make, brand and sew with cotton every day and knowing where and how it’s grown is something that is really important to us. The cotton industry is one of the largest industries around the world and demand is growing all the time especially in the last few decades as the trend of fast fashion has risen.
Cotton comes from a plant called Gossypium which is grown in hot countries such as India, China and the southern states of the USA.
The plant is grown from seed which takes around 6 months from planting to harvesting. After around 5-7 weeks from sowing the seeds, the plant produces a bud which is called a square, these open up into flowers and pollination starts. The flowers last for around 3 days starting as white in colour, then turning to yellow, pink and eventually dark red before they fall off leaving the boll.
Inside the boll, cotton fibres start to grow. Once the boll has finished growing, it starts to fill up with cellulose which eventually bursts the boll open and the cotton spills out. This is now ready for harvest and processing.
It takes about 350 balls of cotton wool to make one shirt.