"Supima cotton is simply the best, and that is why we use it. Supima is the softest, and it takes dyes beautifully. SKU lifestyle is all about the laid back modern basic that is garment dyed, and Supima is the perfect vehicle for our designs." - David Mullen, SKU Founder.
It has been more than 10 years since we presented the first Supima tee to our customers. We like the fact that this luxury fiber is grown locally, but we chose it because it is simply the softest quality we can find. Our first supima tee quality was in 40s single, which was light weight and draped well on the body. As our line evolved, we have increased the weight of the jersey and changed to 30s single for a more structured look and feel.
In the collection, we have expanded the supima assortment to include lightly brushed Supima fleece in sweat silhouettes, supima buttoned down shirts, and supima boxer brief to bring this soft material to every layer of SKU lifestyle.
In 2018, we visited Ted Sheely's farm for a photoshoot in his Supima cotton field (check out the SS18 Lookbook and Supima Blog). This year, we returned to Ted's farm to see the harvest, visited Cross Creek Gin to understand the cotton ginning process, and toured the USDA office to see cotton classifying in full swing.
David Mullen, SKU founder, looks on as the cotton picking machine finishes the last picking of the year.
We were impressed by the farm's commitment in using state-of-the art technology and other advanced farming practices to monitor soil health and improve efficiency. Ted's farm deploys satellite imaging to monitor crops from above and wireless soil moisture sensors to gauge water usage. The farm has adopted drip water system and increased crop production with less water. Soil health, efficiency, and sustainability are not just "in-fashion" concepts, but a long and serious pursuit that is at the root of each farmer's livelihood.
Supima cotton crop packed and resting in the field. Ready for Gin.
Kirk Gilkey's Cross Creek Gin is located in Cocoron, CA. This gin facility is only operational during the cotton harvest season in the fall. It is powered by solar panels and is a zero waste facility. In the
Cotton (with dirt, branches, and leaves) ready for gin.
Separating cotton from debris in slow motion.
Cotton bale ready. Samples were sent to the USDA cotton office for grading.
Trash from the cotton gin process. Waste will become feed for cattle ranch or compost for farmland.
USDA cotton programs are sponsored by the gin facilities. It grades cotton and classifies based on fiber length, uniformity, strength, and micronaire. It used to be a manually process with a specialist hand pulling the lint apart and making a visual judgement. Today, every sample goes into an instrument to be measured with precise data.
Inside the USDA cotton program office.
Based on the quality, the cotton bales will enter the market and be sold based on the price warranted from its grade. Each year, less than 1% of the world's cotton is Supima, and the production continues to wane.
It is a long journey when we map the steps of cotton from farm to body. Many hands touched the products before we deliver a great tee shirt to your door step. Enjoy the fruit of our labor and know that we do all of this to simply bring you the best.