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Behind the Brand: Organic Threads & Sally Fox's Foxfibre Colored Cottons

Behind the Brand: Organic Threads & Sally Fox's Foxfibre Colored Cottons

These humble looking cotton crew socks from Organic Threads are one of my most cherished items in the shop. They totally epitomize the qualities I look for in a product: transparency, sustainability, craftsmanship, thoughtful design, comfort and durability.

These cushioned crew socks are made without any dyes and their color changes and intensifies over time. The socks get their light green and terracotta colors from Foxfibre cottons, which organic cotton industry pioneer Sally Fox started breeding in 1982.

Colored cottons exist in nature, but Sally bred them to be usable in textile production. Naturally occurring colored cottons have a short staple length, meaning the fibers they produce are very short and don't make a strong flexible yarn. While large scale cotton growers simply disregarded these naturally colored cottons, Sally saw their potential and began the slow process of classically breeding them for longer staple length. Sally's work is fully funded by her sales and donations--no big investors!

Did you know that it's perfectly legal for textile manufacturers to use toxic dyes and not disclose their ingredients to consumers? Yep, you have no way of knowing what's in your clothing unless the manufacturer decides to tell you, which they probably won't!

Many common dyes, such as aniline dyes and azo dyes, are toxic and frequently end up in waterways. They've been linked to various forms of cancer in both factory workers and members of surrounding communities whose water becomes polluted.

Cutting out the dyeing process saves tons of waste water, eliminates environmental pollution from dyes, and results in a safe fabric free of toxic chemicals.

Sally breeds her Foxfibre cottons and grows seeds on her Viriditas Farm in California. Her seeds are then grown by other farmers and used in all kinds of fabrics like cotton twills, plaid weave plaids, high end Japanese selvedge denims, and the yarn for these socks!

Sally uses regenerative agriculture practices like rotating her cotton crop with heirloom Sonora wheat, which she harvests and sells as a food crop, and which has a deep root system that adds tons of organic matter to the soil. She also raises sheep who graze on the crop stubble, reducing the need for a tractor and further adding to the health of the soil with their manure. Of course she humanely shears them and makes fiber from their wool.

The Foxfibre cotton used for these socks are grown by small farms in the Southwest. The white organic cotton used in these socks is grown on small farms in Texas. The cotton is spun and knit in North Carolina, and the socks are designed and distributed by Organic Threads, a tiny company in Gold Beach, Oregon. A USA made product every step of the way!