by Carmela Federico
from The Crossroads School in Santa Monica, CA.
Sally FoxCourtesy Sally Fox. Used with permission.
Before Sally Fox invented Foxfibre, the only color cotton came in was beige. If you wanted to wear a cotton shirt that was any other color, someone had to dye that shirt. Most clothes-dyeing processes use toxic chemicals that hurt the environment. Traditional cotton growing also harms the planet: herbicides and pesticides from cotton agriculture have been found to cause cancer in dolphins and other marine life.
Sally Fox decided she wanted to provide a natural alternative to these toxic chemicals. She would produce cotton that naturally grew in different colors.
Native Americans have long known about and used cotton that grows naturally in different colors. The fibers of these types of cotton, however, were too short to be used in a modern textile mill. Since no one cared about the toxicity of dyeing cotton until recently, these naturally-colored cottons were entirely ignored by the rest of the world.
Sally took these fibers and embarked on her own breeding program. She worked to make the fibers longer, to create several rich colors, and to breed plants that stood more upright, allowing for easier organic weed removal. She then successfully marketed cloth woven out of her fibers (Foxfibre), creating a large successful business. Many clothing companies now use her fibers to make naturally-colored organic cotton clothing.
Sally Fox used her lifelong interest in weaving and her training in insect control and biology, and made it possible for us to reduce damage to the environment. For this, she is a hero to me.
Page created on 6/14/2004 10:18:27 AM
Last edited 12/30/2020 10:10:32 PM
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Sally Fox created two successful companies -- Vreseis, Ltd. and Natural Cotton Colours (now operated by Athena Root Mill). Vreseis Limited is the retail and wholesale mail order company through which Sally Fox first sold cotton lint to handspinners. This company now offers lint, sliver, yarn, fabric, and finished products. Natural Cotton Colours, Inc. breeds, grows, and markets FoxFibre ® naturally colored cotton.