Searching for the best organic and fair trade cotton, led me back to SEKEM in Egypt where I visited several times 6 years ago, when developing cotton products for an organic skincare company.
There I rediscovered this fantastic organisation, built on the theories and practices of Rudolf Steiner, by the extraordinary Dr Abraham Abouleish and his family. Big into art and music, my visits to Sekem often included musical interludes and was once invited to sing the solo alto in Rossini's 'Petite Messe Solonelle' at the Sekem auditorium in Cairo, which was an incredible and memorable event!
Back to the cotton - Sekem grows Extra Long Staple cotton, the "queen" of Egyptian cottons. It's history goes back to 1820, when Mohammed Ali Pasha, the founder of modern Egypt, planted for the first time in Egypt, Sea Island cotton and Brazilian seeds, enthused by the fabrics produced from these varieties of fibres. Thus the finest cotton in the world was born in Egypt, from the marriage of the world's best seeds with the unparalleled climate of this country.
The land is farmed biodynamically (Organic) and the Foundation and it's companies are Fairtrade certified. The cotton is harvested by hand and this, together with the way the crops are carefully looked after, means that the defoliants and other chemicals normally used in mechanical harvesting are avoided. The processing of the fibres and yarns are carried out in Italy, in accordance with the Egyptian Cotton Association, to protect the purity of the Egyptian cotton.
From water and energy usage, eco-friendly finishing processes, waste and water management and the eco-design solutions to lowering environmental impact in textile waste, the yarns retain their eco credentials and the transparency of the chain.
These precious yarns are then knitted in Leicestershire, using whole garment technology to ensure no yarn wastage.
You can understand why we are so excited about these new styles and the story behind them!!