That’s the percentage of cotton in the world that can be classified as “Sea Island Cotton,” which raises the immediate question: how does one material become so scarce? The answer involves weevils, Queen Victoria, and the Caribbean climate, but most of all it involves a textile that is far superior to all of its cotton cousins.
Sea Island Cotton is harvested from The Gossypium Barbadense plant, which hails from South America, and had been grown in the West Indies since the 15th century. Yet, it wasn’t until 1786 when the plant arrived in the sea islands of South Carolina that it really began to infiltrate the U.S. and European markets. In comparison to other cottons, Sea Island is just plain better. It’s stronger, silkier, softer, and therefore extremely desirable.