A Conversation about Yarn with David Sasso

David Sasso is Vice President of Sales at Buhler Quality Yarns, Corp. in Jefferson, Georgia. Lazlo worked closely with Buhler to develop an exceptional yarn for the Heirloom Tee. The organic Supima cotton was spun at Buhler’s headquarters in Switzerland.

Buhler has been spinning yarn in Switzerland for over 200 years. What distinguishes Buhler from other spinning mills?

Buhler focuses on the upper niche of quality.  We use cellulose fibers like American Pima cotton, Tencel and Modal—luxury yarns for better goods. Buhler has been spinning organic cotton in Switzerland for 26 years, and was involved in setting up the European standards for organic cotton. Buhler has created a market for and an awareness of fine organic cotton, particularly US Pima cotton.

Let’s talk for a moment about Supima [US Pima], which is known as the “cashmere of the cottons” for its longer, stronger fibers.

Organic cotton can be grown widely; you just have to find the right farmer who’s willing to transition. But organic Pima doesn’t just grow wherever you want to plant cotton; there has to be the right environment, temperature and length of growing season. So if Pima cotton is 3% of the world’s cotton crop, you can imagine that American organic Pima is very niche. This is what makes Lazlo’s product very, very special; it’s just not available to all who want it.

We’re using compacted yarn for our Heirloom Tee. What does compacting mean to someone in the industry?

Compacting yarn uses an air vacuum to compress the fibers in a tighter arrangement, and once that bundle of fibers is stuck together, you add the twists. So the diameter of the yarn becomes smaller, but it still has the same weight. Having a yarn that is more compact creates higher strength, and the yarn hairiness is less so fabrics are brighter.

We are excited to partner with a company that shares our commitment to implementing sustainable business practices.

Spinning doesn’t consume many chemicals, but it uses a lot of energy. Energy is expensive, so to manufacture yarn you constantly look at how to reduce your energy consumption—which in turn reduces your carbon footprint.  

[Buhler owns water powerhouses in Switzerland to deliver part of its production energy requirements.]

Say you buy a cheap t-shirt and it only washes a few times before it’s time to go to the landfill—compared to a quality product that you pay more for upfront but lasts longer. Disposable products waste water and energy during each production cycle. We need to care whether a product has the longevity to reduce its carbon footprint at the consumer level.

Sustainability means making the best quality yarn you can, instead of just making yarn that is good enough because the brand and retailers are only willing to pay a certain amount. Supply chains need to be intact. You don’t want someone in the supply chain always getting the short end of the stick; then they never want to participate. That’s not what sustainability’s about. Sustainability is about equal partnerships along the way creating a valued product. Everybody adds their input; you source your products supply chain by supply chain and create the very best product you can sell.



Christian Birky