We place a lot of
emphasis on the quality of the REDD knit, both in regards to its craft and
material, but if you were to ask us to single out the element that most
distinguishes our polos, we’d say it all comes down to a single ingredient:
Pima cotton, harvested by hand along Peru’s northern coastline.
Pima cotton, or Gossypium barbadense, is a luxury
long-fiber cotton with a history of cultivation in Peru that spans centuries,
if not millennia, and known to Peruvians as “gamuza,” which is Spanish for
“suede.” The plant is most commonly named for the Pima Indians, who were the
first to harvest the crop in the United States, but archeologists have traced
Pima cotton’s genesis to South America, having found samples that date back to
The Incas were
especially well known for their practice of cultivating and weaving Pima cotton
for both practical and artistic purposes. Like them, contemporary harvesters
cultivate the crop by hand, which prevents the contamination of the cotton with
the impurities that result from an industrial process, and leave a scratchy
texture and yellowish cast. Hand-harvested Pima cotton, by contrast, results in
a smooth, lustrously white finish—making it a perfect medium for REDD to mix a
variety of vibrant colors.
So what separates Pima cotton from the rest? Stephen Yafa’s book Cotton: The Biography of a Revolutionary
Fiber identifies the distinguishing factor in the length of the cotton
fiber, of which luxury cotton’s are longer—akin, in Yafa’s words, to “the difference between perfectly
drinkable table wine and a celestial Chateau Lafite-Rothschild”.