A Sea Island cotton farm in Belize.
Cotton that contains average fiber lengths of over 35mm is generally referred to as ultra long-staple cotton, however among the various strains in existence, Sea Island cotton possess particularly fine features.
The country of Belize is located near the base of the Yucatan Peninsula in the northeastern region of Central America.
Facing the Caribbean Sea to the east, Belize is blessed with beautiful seas and exotic coral reefs, and is often referred to as the "jewel of the Caribbean Sea". It is also known for its production of high-quality Sea Island cotton.
Sea Island cotton is soft and beautiful premium cotton with ultra-long fibers that is often described as having a "silk-like luster" and a "hand feel as soft as cashmere" is one of the highest-grade cotton strains in the world.
By utilizing various processing techniques, other types of cotton can be made to temporarily mimic the texture of Sea Island cotton. However, unlike other types of cotton, Sea Island cotton can retain its natural disposition even when worn or washed repeatedly. One of the main features of Sea Island cotton is that the longer it is used, the more you can feel its quality.
In order not to damage the cotton fibers, each individual plant is carefully harvested by hand.
The longer and thinner the fibers are of the cotton used to make garments, the softer and smoother it feels, it also enhances its durability. Compared to other types of cotton, Sea Island cotton has significantly longer fibers. Also, cotton fibers have a natural wave or twist and the more twist they have, the bulkier the cotton gets, where it can absorb more moisture. Sea Island cotton has the largest amount of twist per inch out of all cotton strains, resulting in a fluffy texture and excellent absorbency. This large amount of twist gives the material resiliency, which is why its soft texture is preserved even after multiple washes.
Furthermore, Sea Island cotton features a number of beautiful characteristics, such as a natural luster brought on by the high reflectivity of its fibers, and a smooth yet almost slippery-like texture due to a high amount of oil and fat content. It is also extremely durable and strong, and was originally used as a fabric to make parachutes.
The reason why Sea Island cotton, which is known as the highest quality cotton in the world, can only be grown on a specific set of islands in the Caribbean Sea is due to the unique climate of the area. The perfect weather cycle of the area, where the rainy season falls during the growing period of the cotton trees and the dry season falling during the flowering period keeps the cotton undamaged.
The well-drained land, whose foundation consists of coral reefs and calcareous is perfect for growing the cotton trees. Furthermore, the small difference in temperature during the day and night also makes it ideal for the growth of cotton plants. The perfect combination of climate and land in this region is absolutely necessary to grow the high-quality Sea Island cotton.
In the past, farmers tried to cultivate Sea Island cotton plants in various regions but all attempts ended in failure. However, after intensive cultivation research and selective breeding conducted at New Mexico University in the United States, researchers were successful in the commercial cultivation of Luxsic cotton (American Sea Island cotton).
While inheriting 100% of the DNA of Sea Island cottonseeds from the West Indies and undergoing further evolution, Luxsic is an ultra long-staple cotton of the finest quality. With its lengthy fibers, stunning luster, and superb strength, Luxsic cotton's fibers have a high weight ratio compared to its seeds. Also, Luxsic cotton generally has a higher yield compared to Sea Island cotton cultivated in the West Indies.