Those who are old enough to remember the fiber world in the 1980s and early ’90s will easily remember Sally Fox, a plant researcher who bred improved varieties of naturally colored cottons that needed no dyeing. Her colored cottons were milled into luscious yarns and sold widely. I remember an issue of the L.L. Bean catalog that featured women’s Fair Isle sweaters made of Fox Fiber in soft tans, warm browns, cream and pale green.
But Sally’s rise to public notice coincided with the beginning of the collapse of the American garment industry and the rise of cheap foreign yarn mills and sweatshop labor. Within a few years, Fox Fiber had gone bust because of economic challenges outside of Sally’s control.
Now Sally has resolved to give it a second try and is seeking crowdfunding for her organically-grown naturally colored cottons through an IndiGogo campaign. Things are different now than they were 25 years ago. Although the world textile economy is now mostly based on quasi-slave labor in Asia, there is now a genuine upswelling of protest against the working conditions in the factories and environmental concerns about toxic degradation caused by mills. The California Fibershed has spawned affiliated groups of weavers, spinners, knitters and crocheters all over the nation who want to make their own clothing that is locally based, free of slavery and ecologically pure. Sally has a real chance of being able to market to this growing group of fiber consumers.
I just contributed $25.00 to her campaign. You can help her meet her goal by contributing as little as $5.00 or as much as $350.00 at http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/help-me-grow-my-cotton-again. Sally will reward donors with gifts that range from dried cotton bolls to socks made from Fox Fiber, a bag of local Sonoma wheat, even a tanned sheepskin. Please consider donating to this very good cause, because this in turn will benefit the greater American fiber economy.
See related posts on fiber-politics on my other blog, HousesandBooks: