Uniqlo Supima Cotton Crew Neck T-Shirt

overall Rating:

2

planets

Chloe Cho
7/29/2020
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As a whole, Uniqlo’s Supima Cotton Crew Neck T-shirt is a more sustainable option compared to other cotton-made apparel.  Their cotton crew neck offers an affordable option for a basic wardrobe piece which can last a long time based on its high-quality cotton.  Their website does offer information on how consumers can recycle their used Uniqlo apparel and how they distribute them to people in need through its partnerships.  

Although Uniqlo has a generous recycling mission, I feel most consumers will not know about their clothing recycling program as it has to be searched through the site rather than within the product page.  Uniqlo could also offer more transparency on its manufacturing processes, but did well to provide information on the Supima brand for its product’s material information.  Overall, I feel Uniqlo’s product offers a sustainable option compared to other brands and can be a great source for recycling old Uniqlo apparel.

Pro:

  • Considering the durability and comfort of the product, it is a more sustainable option to consider for essential clothing pieces that will last a long time.

Con:

  • I think most consumers do not actually know about Uniqlo’s clothing recycling program and they could offer more transparency and information on the manufacturing process to understand whether the supply chain process follows ethical standards.

what it's made of:

2

Uniqlo’s cotton crew neck t-shirt is made up of 100% Supima cotton.  Supima cotton is actually a trademarked brand by a nonprofit organization of the same name that designates and licenses high-quality American-grown Pima cotton, which is an extra-long staple cotton (ELS). Supima cotton also represents less than 1% of cotton around the world and is unique to other cottons because it contains extra-long fibers that provides its strength, softness, and color retention.  The stronger fibers in Supima cotton helps it resist breaking and tearing which creates longer lasting fabrics.  The fibers also create softer and smoother textures which resists pilling and becomes softer over time.  Supima cotton’s fibers also absorb dyes better for longer lasting color compared to regular cottons.

In comparison to other cottons, Supima cotton is a high-quality fabric choice to consider for longer lasting clothes.  The durability and color quality allows longer life cycles for clothing and is a more sustainable choice compared to cheaper cotton textiles that may tear, fade, and pill faster.  I also think it is a very comfortable, breathable piece to wear which makes it an essential styling piece that will last a long time for consumers who need wardrobe basics.  Supima cotton is also fully compostable and the Supima brand partners with Oritain, a global leader in forensic sciences, to trace their cotton origins.

how it's made:

1.5

Supima cotton is completely grown in the United States at approximately 500 family-owned farms: about 93% is grown in California in the San Joaquin Valley, 3% is grown in Arizona, 2% in New Mexico, and 2% in Texas.  Generally, Supima cotton fabric is made through a six-step process:

  1. The cotton seeds are hand picked by the manufacturers.
  2. The seeds are then stripped of their fibers and are compressed into bales
  3. The bales are transported into to production facilities where they are opened and the fibers are transferred to a mixing machine.
  4. The fibers are then carded which forms the fibers into webs of rope-like strands and is done either by hand or through machines.
  5. The cotton strands are then combed to remove impurities then are loaded onto spools called bobbins.  
  6. The strands are spun into yarn which can then be woven into fabric.

Supima cotton is one of the more environmentally-friendly forms of cotton as the trademark is highly regulated in the United States to prevent toxic practices during the manufacturing process.  The farming process does utilize irrigation through drip irrigation or flood irrigation as well as regular crop rotations to optimize soil health.  The processes also involves GPS and satellite technology to monitor soil levels and minimize the need to till soil.  

Uniqlo’s site does not provide very much information on how its clothing is manufactured, but offers a website link on the trademarked Supima brand to provide information about its materials under its product details description.

who makes it:

2

Uniqlo is a clothing apparel company that was founded in Yamaguchi, Japan in 1949 as a textiles manufacturer.  It is currently one of Asia’s biggest retailers and focuses on mass-producing affordable basics with a wide variety of rainbow-colored casual wear that is “made for all,” which is Uniqlo’s slogan.  They gained traction during Japan’s economic downturn in the early 1990s after Japanese consumers began scaling back spending and their clothing options offered cheaper prices for quality clothing.  After their popularity and growth in Asia, Uniqlo began expanding to overseas locations around the world.

Other than being grown in the United States, it is not known which specific factories produce Uniqlo’s Supima cotton fabrics; however, based on an article in their Uniqlo Today, one of the Supima cotton farms Uniqlo purchases its textiles from is in Buttonwillow, California.