Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Accademia Firenze’s Egyptian Cotton - History & Production

Accademia Firenze’s Cotton - History & Production

Egypt is the main historical producer and current world leader in the production of long and extra long staple cotton: the famous “long and extra long staple”, longer than 33 mm. The long staple cotton includes three good quality plantations (Giza 86-Giza 89-Giza 90) where the length is around 33 mm and a fibre diameter index of 4.3 – 4.9 with characteristics similar to the American Supima. This type of cotton is used to produce yarns up to counts NE 50/1, 70/1. The extra long staple cotton consists of cottons of an even higher quality like Giza 45, Giza 87 or Giza 88, which are able to produce extra fine yarn counts that are resistant at the same time. But why is Egypt the ideal environment for growing such top quality cottons? The very best cotton grows here because of the particular climatic conditions and the fertility of the soil along the Nile in its delta area. The Greek writer Erodoto wrote that "Egypt is the Nile's gift", a never ending source of loamy water for irrigating the fields. Its delta is a huge green triangle that opens like a fan in the desert between the two main branches. The Delta, in fact, which is the most fertile and heavily populated region in all of Egypt, produces a large part of the country's crops.

Cotton is planted at the end of March when the climate is slightly cooler. This helps the plant produce branches lower down. The cotton flocks that mature in the shade are not affected a great deal by the direct heat of the sun. In July and August, when the cotton fibres are forming, the climate is very stable and good for the production of uniform and regular fibres. It is harvested in September. This climatic paradise is the secret behind the quality of Egyptian cotton which is exceptional with many, many qualities. But such precious raw materials are bothered by a problem of pollution by foreign fibrils because they are picked by hand and handled time and time again with the “farfara” method (mixing by hand, eliminating the large external particles). It is the ability of the spinner, with the know-how and the most suitable modern equipment, that makes the difference at this stage, skilfully eliminating the impurities. For more than 50 years Accademia has been working with the finest quality Eygptian cotton. We are dedicated to the search for the best examples of this extraordinary raw material.
Giza 45 is “the queen” of the Egyptian cotton species. It was planted for the very first time in 1820 by the founder of modern Egypt, Mohammed Alì Pascià, symbol of the rebuilding of the country after the invasion of Napoleon's French troops. As a matter of fact, Mohammed imported Sea Island and Brazilian cotton seeds because he was enthusiastic about the fabulous cloths produced abroad with this raw material. The best seeds in the world, coupled with just the right environment, created the ideal conditions for growing the most sought after cotton in the world.. The plants of Giza 45 cotton are cultivated in a tiny area east of the Nile delta, searching for the best place each year, and represent 0.4% of the total annual Egyptian cotton production. Cotton is picked by hand in five stages so only the flocks that are at the right degree of maturity are picked each time. The care taken with cultivating and manually picking the cotton avoids the use of defoliants and other chemical products commonly used with mechanised picking. Giza 45 cotton fibres are extremely long, 36 mm to be precise, and have a uniformity index of 88.5%. But what really makes this cotton exceptional is the fineness of its fibres, measured in micronaire, which is an average of 2.95, the best among the Extra Long Staple cottons. Despite this fineness, the resistance of the Giza 45 fibres is still high, apparently an average of 44.30 g/tex. In terms of resistance, cleanliness and regularity, the uniquely excellent features of Giza 45 are obvious, used to make extremely fine and strong yarns and fabrics that have an extraordinarily soft and silky texture for the best products in the world.

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