Quality Is Key For Specialty Markets

By LaRhea Pepper
Managing Director/Textile Exchange
O’Donnell, Texas

LaRhea PepperMonitoring Cotton Trends

Today, Textile Exchange keeps organic cotton a core program focus, and many brands and retailers have anchored their sustainability platform in organic cotton. We are also encouraged by the number of companies that have adopted a portfolio of more sustainable fibers. Any consideration for our environment is welcome.

We’re also pleased to see new cotton production systems like E3, CmiA, BCI making good strides in growth. These programs also take into consideration the environment and the communities in which they are grown.

In these specialty markets, high quality fibers are essential. Farmers who are engaged in organic cotton or other identity preserved markets do not have the broad range of options from high count yarns to mop yarns that are accessible in the conventional cotton market.

Range Of Options

In markets that are still expanding product offerings, higher quality fiber will be purchased, and fiber that falls outside of higher end yarn spinning parameters ends up being dumped onto the conventional market.

Breeding programs that continue to improve fiber quality and selection for all geographic regions is an important investment that we, as an industry, must make.

Quality is not only about the seed and fiber, but also how it is handled through the entire supply chain. For farmers utilizing mechanical harvesting equipment, it means cleaning up the equipment and making sure things like stains and grease used with a hydraulic module builder don’t get onto the cotton.

One Goal For All

We all must work together in giving the consumer the BEST product. Only if the whole supply chain is acting with one goal will the intrinsic value that is embedded in the fiber be acknowledged and supported.

LaRhea Pepper is managing director of the Textile Exchange. She is an organic farmer and resides in O’Donnell, Texas.

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From Fabric to Fiber

• Quality – broad-based market goal.
• Specialty markets demand fiber quality.
• Don’t forget breeding programs.
• It all starts on the farm.
• All steps in the value chain must work together for the consumer.

"Our vision of a global textile industry that protects and restores the environment and enhances lives puts long-term challenges before us"
– LaRhea Pepper

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