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Sally Fox and Natural Cotton

Cotton Plant
More on Sally Fox and Natural Cotton
Sally Fox
Sally Fox invented naturally-colored cotton.
Natural Cotton Colours, Inc.
Home of Sally Fox's Fox Fibre, Natural Cotton Colours, Inc. gives us information about Sally Fox and the advantages of her fibers.
The Organic Cotton Site
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History of Fabrics
History of Cotton

Women Inventors
~ Mary Bellis

Colored cotton agriculture began around 2700 B.C. in Indo-Pakistan, Egypt and Peru. It was then common for cotton to grow in a variety of natural colors: mocha, tan, gray, and red-brown.

The industrial revolution brought us industrial cotton looms. Short-fibered colored cotton was replaced by long-fibered all white cotton that processed better in the industrial looms. The natural-colored varieties grew almost extinct, until Sally Fox rediscovered a small amount of brown cotton seeds in 1982. Fox began to research creating a commercially viable long-fibered colored cotton (better for the looms of today). The invention was called FoxFibre, a strong long-fibered colored cotton.

The Peace Corps sent Sally Fox to the Gambia in West Africa. There she observed the extensive misuse of pesticides which magnified her concern for the environment, encouraging her to develop safer methods of pest management. After returning home, Sally Fox entered a graduate program at the University of California, and, in 1982, received her Masters degree in Integrated Pest Management.

Sally Fox was introduced to colored cotton while working for a cotton breeder, whose focus was developing pest-resistant strains of cotton. The peoples of Central and South America had spun these strains for centuries, but the fiber qualities were not sufficient for modern machine spinning. Here was Sally Fox’s opportunity to combine her concern for the environment, work in her field of entomology, and practice her favorite pastime, spinning and weaving.

Sally Fox took on the challenge of improving an ancient agricultural art. Fox successfully bred and marketed varieties of naturally coloured cotton she calls FoxFiber ®. In 1989, she opened Natural Cotton Colours, Inc. Today, Sally Fox designs fabrics with her cotton and continues research.

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