Peruvian Cotton

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The earliest cultivation of cotton discovered in the Americas occurred in Mexico, 5,000 years ago. The indigenous species found there was Gossypium hirsutum which today is the most widely planted species of cotton in the world. It constituting about 90% of all production worldwide. In Peru, the cultivation of the indigenous cotton species Gossypium barbadense was the backbone of the development of coastal cultures such as the Norte Chico, Moche and Nazca. The cotton was grown upriver, then made into nets and traded with fishing villages along the coast for large supplies of fish.



Modern Peruvian Cotton


Extra-Long Staple (ELS) cotton has been grown in the Southwest United States starting in the early 1900’s, but it wasn’t until mid-century that much attention was given to the new cotton. The real breakthrough came in 1951 when a seed was developed that produced an ELS cotton with superior fiber properties, (luster and silkiness) as well as an unusually high yield. Subsequent future breakthroughs in the 1970’s, 80s and 90’s included Pima S-5, S-6 and S-7, all of which boasted higher yields and better spinning characteristics.

The name “Pima” was applied to ELS cotton (previously called American-Egyptian). The name was given in honor of the Pima Indians who were helping to raise the ELS cotton.The evolution of ELS cottons began in 1825 when Sea Island cotton was crossed with a tree cotton named Jumel. The crossing of Jumel and Sea Island resulted in the creation of Ashmouni in about 1860. The next several Egyptian cultivars were derived from Ashmouni or from crosses of Ashmouni and Sea Island.

The term Egyptian cotton refers to the extra long staple cotton grown in Egypt and favored by luxury brands worldwide. During the U.S. Civil War, with heavy European investments, Egyptian-grown cotton became the main alternate source for British textile mills. Egyptian cotton is more durable and softer than American Pima cotton, which is why it is highly regarded. Pima cotton is an American cotton that is grown in the south western United States.

Peruvian Pima cotton is a different story. Peru has two kinds of cotton: tanguis and pima cotton. The Peruvian Pima cotton possesses the longest fiber of the world. It is only comparable with Egyptian cotton. When it is processed correctly it has a special sheen and is very soft to the touch that is in some circles considered the finest in the world.



Hey what happend to my t-shirt?

Ever wonder why your favorite t-shirt of 8 months is starting to look faded, worn, and barely wearable? Well, it’s the cotton. There are varying degrees of quality and construction that you might not be aware of. Our company’s “rhetoric” has always been to build premium garments and match them with clever and innovative prints. In the literary practice of “show, don’t tell” we went looking for a way to prove the superiority of our shirts. We decided to document our shirts over the course of 25 washes.


Click here to see the 25 washes photo log


The People

Rhetoric celebrates diversity and the absurd, which serves as an accurate description of its principal founders Lish Cayro and W. Dylan Dawson. Both are students of architecture, distracted by fashion, and dedicated to celebrating life. Our company has an inherent value system, which observes the growing responsibilities towards the environment. The Rhetoric staff does not tolerate waste or exploitation in any aspect of our retail system.



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