First, what is cotton? Cotton is a soft, natural and pillowy fiber that's made up mostly of cellulose. Cotton yarn is made by harvesting the cotton and stripping it of it's leaves and other parts. It's then transferred to a textile mill where multiple things can happen:
Ringspun cotton is soft and smooth on your skin, it ends up this way because it's gone through a special process of spinning the cotton until all the loose ends are spun into a single thread, with all the fibers going in a single direction. In this method, all impurities are removed in the process. Making a strand with no loose ends means that there's nothing poking out or rough pieces, even at a microscopic level.
Carded Open End (C.O.E.) Cotton is produced by weaving fibers in perpendicular directions to form a cheaper but more 'fuzzy' version of thread. This is less soft to touch and produces an overall rougher material.
Once the yarn is formed, it's woven into fabric, dyed and processed to become a garment.
Using water-based inks, we prefer to print on the smoother surface of ringspun garments. It produces a better print that ages well with the fabric.
Stay tuned for the difference between cotton and polyester garments and why it matters for the earth!