Cotton is the most used fabric in the entire world. One reason is because it’s just super abundant. There is no shortage of cotton like anywhere, ever. Also, cotton is one of the most breathable fabrics making it ideal for everyday wear. You can find cotton hiding in unsuspecting places like in your favorite denim jacket or your child’s school uniform khaki pants.
So no one actually knows how old cotton really is (mainly because no one can even agree on how old the earth itself is) but scientists hanging out in Mexican caves have found some cotton pieces that seem to be at least seven thousand years old. We do know that in Pakistan cotton was being grown and woven into cloth as early as 3000 BC. Shortly after, Egyptians started wearing cotton clothing on a regular basis.
Fast forward to about 800 AD and you find Arab merchants traveling to Europe to sell their cotton clothing items. Then boom, several centuries later Christopher Columbus “finds” cotton in the Bahamas in 1492 and now the rest of the world finds out about it and thinks cotton is all that and a bag of chips. They were right.
Cotton wasn’t machine-spun until about 1730 in England. The industrial revolution of that area and the US invention of the cotton gin got us to where we see cotton today. The cotton gin was able to work ten times faster than what it would take to do things by hand. After the cotton gin, cotton went from about a $150,000 value to an over $8,000,000 value !
Today you’ll find a lot of research and sustainability efforts to keep cotton alive. It’s been a cash cow for so long that certain people are afraid that we’re going to completely milk it dry in the very near future. What do you think ? What’s your favorite fabric ? Let us know in the comments !