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Watching Cotton Come to Life: A trip to a North Carolina cotton farm brings the fiber to life for future fashion and textile professionals.
By Malvina J. D’Alterio
Recently I had an invaluable experience and opportunity—to visit a cotton farm and ginning facility in North Carolina. As a student studying Textile Development and Marketing at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, we are offered a range of exposures to various segments of the textile industries and the lifecycle of products that are made from those materials. However, the beginning stages of any education are generally theoretical. We read about relevant topics, see pictures and view videos, but to actually see fiber from its starting point is something that brings it all to life. I am an advocate for natural fibers. I have always used them–especially woolen fibers–as much as possible, from the point of origin through the spinning, dyeing and knitting for products that I create. Accessibility is possible for me, living near New England by attending sheep and wool festivals, farmers markets and participating knitting groups. But cotton is different. Traveling to North Carolina allowed me to observe the cotton production lifecycle in its entirety.