When Sally Fox first saw brown cotton seeds and lint, she had no idea she was about to become a pioneer.
Fox began her life as an inventor in 1982 in Davis, California, as a handspinner for a cotton breeder. Although cottons are usually bleached white, then dyed to suit the needs of the clothing manufacturer, Fox fell in love with their natural brown color. Noticing that the fiber was significantly shorter, weaker, and thinner than that of commercial white varieties, and therefore more difficult to spin, Fox went to work on selecting the best possible quality brown cottons, hand-ginning each seed and hand-spinning the fiber. Year after year, she planted the best of the yield and designed and spun a series of unique yarns that could be made only with her naturally colored cottons.
Two of the numerous advantages of naturally colored cottons are that they eliminate the need for the dyeing and finishing steps that are detrimental to the environment, and they are innately more fire-resistant than white cotton.
Fox has received a patent and three Plant Variety Protection Certificates for her naturally colored cottons which, in addition to browns, she now grows in reds and greens. Her invention has been so popular that it has sprouted multiple successful companies, including Vreseis, Ltd. and FoxFibre. Based in Spain, the brand, FoxFiber Colorganic, is becoming increasingly popular in Europe.