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Natural Cotton Color

The many shades of Brazil's more sustainable cotton movement

by Joel Niedfeldt in Style on 15 August 2011

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While most think of caipirinhas and Havianas when it comes to Brazil, you might not know that the country leads the environmental movement in several areas. Already home to a nation of flex-fuel cars and Osklen's fish-skin shoes, a new fashion brand, Natural Cotton Color, has made their focus using the spectrum of cotton colors that exist naturally. If, like me, you thought cotton only came in white, you'll be surprised to find out that there are 40 different natural colors of cotton.

Original varieties come in a range of colors: mocha, tan, gray, brown, black, mahogany, red, pink, blue, green, cream and white. Colored cotton has become obscure because shorter fiber lengths make it unsuitable for industrial milling, but it's in fact more robust and sustainable than commercial white cotton, which requires an enormous amount of pesticides to keep it viable.

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The cotton for Natural Cotton Color was developed with the support of the Brazilian Agro company. It eliminates the need for chemical dyes and uses 70% less water than conventional production. Grown on small farms to support local agriculture, the collection also uses accessories and needlework produced by local artisans from the poorer Northeast area of Brazil. Local prisoners also provide product for the collections; for every three days worked, their sentences are reduced by one day.

Retailers in Japan, Spain and France, as well as the U.K., stock the collections.

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