JUMP AHEAD    327 B.C.  |  1825  |  1911  |  1916  |  1927  |  1964  |  1990  |  2004  |  2006  |  2010
6,000 B.C.E.
In South America, the ancestors of the Incas cultivate a luxurious extra-long staple cotton that will become the illustrious ancestor of Supima.
5,000 B.C.E.
Cotton cultivation also begins in the Indus Valley: It’s not a soft or luxurious as the plants produced in South America, but it’s enough to reinforce the Indian subcontinent’s reputation as a center of luxury textile production.
327 B.C.E
Alexander III of Macedonia returns to the Mediterranean after defeat in the Indus. Although foiled in his attempt to conquer the world, Alexander introduces cotton plants as “the trees upon which wool grows.”
Christopher Columbus returns to Europe after an exploratory voyage in which he discovers that softer, fluffier and more luxurious cotton is grown in the New World.
Entranced by the softness of cottons found in the Western Hemisphere, Egyptian entrepreneurs import cotton plants from the New World back to the Old World. When they crossbreed them tree cottons, Egyptian cotton is born. (It’s good, but it’s still not Supima.)
Breeding from the world’s best luxury cottons, a U.S.D.A. experimental farm in Sacaton, Arizona isolates a particularly strong and soft type of extra-long staple cotton, and names it “Pima” in honor of the area’s Pima Indians. Supima is born!
The first commercial crop of the new cotton is produced: 375 bales. It’s a small start, but Pima is on its way.
When its supply of Egyptian cotton is cut off by World War I, an enterprising engineer at Goodyear heads to Arizona to check out the newfangled Pima. This homegrown cotton works so well that Goodyear eventually buys 36,000 acres in Arizona—and sticks with Pima even after the end of the war.
yet another boll weevil infestation wipes out the remaining crop of Sea Island cotton. During the following decades, real estate developers do the rest: Kiawah, Edisto, and Hilton Head turn from the luxury fiber industry to the luxury resort industry.
Charles Lindbergh flies solo across the Atlantic in plane built partially of American Pima cotton—a fiber chosen for its strength relative to its weight. “Lucky Lindy” becomes an international hero.
To deal with a spiraling demand for high-quality Pima cotton produced in the U.S., Supima is founded as a marketing and promotional organization in El Paso, Texas. Its name comes from a contraction of the words “Superior” and “Pima.”
A favorite mannequin of Coco Chanel and a costar of Cary Grant and Gary Cooper, supermodel Suzy Parker now stars in an ad campaign for Supima, America’s luxury fiber.
Supima launches its export promotion program: Soon after, America’s luxury fiber becomes the first choice of Swiss and Italian high-end spinners and shirting mills.
Supima launches its licensing program for brands and retailers. Brooks Brothers soon partners with Supima as a licensee.
With the premium denim trend in full swing, Japanese, Italian, and Turkish denim mills turn to Supima cotton for its blend of luxury and toughness.
Supima celebrates both its 50-year anniversary and a record crop: close to 750,000 bales. The press calls it “a Cinderella story.” Supima now boasts 200 licensees in 41 countries.
Harking back to the kind of high-fashion look that distinguished its 1960s campaigns, Supima shoots its award-winning “Sea of Cotton” advertising.
For its July issue, British Vogue commissions reporter Sarah Harris to discover what distinguishes a perfect T-shirt. The answer? Supima.
In January, Supima launches PREFAB, a premium sourcing show featuring only Supima partner mills and licensees. The press immediately calls it the industry's "Elite Meet."
Supima does a month-long "pop up" store in SoHo, a prime shopping and tourist destination in New York, introducing New Yorkers to licensees ranging from Bodas to Faribault.
Responding to both an industry need for innovation and emerging designers' need for exposure, Supima launches its Design Competition. Finalists are given top-quality Supima fabrics and asked to show their resulting evening wear in a live runway finale./td>
In extensive clinical testing conducted by Yehia Elmogahzy Ph.D., a professor at Auburn University, Supima outperforms other varieties of cotton—including Egyptian cotton and “regular” cotton—on every front.
In conjunction with Bloomingdale’s, Supima debuts the Supima Collection, a line of unisex T-shirts and top intended the fill the market need for luxury basics.