Cotton, like wool, is a great product. Versatile, practical, attractive, hygienic....
For decades it has been under threat from synthetic competitors, once called Brinylon and now rebranded as "polyamides". Though they hesitate to offer 100% synthetics, the main retailers try to add as much synthetic material wherever they can.
They used to leave alone underwear and socks since Doctors will tell you to avoid synthetics next to your skin - they will make worse any tendency you have to skin problems and they will smell.
But new "Technologies" have emboldened the big stores to add synthetic content even to socks and underwear. So Marks and Spencer will sell you socks containing a high proportion of synthetics - but they will then tell you that the socks are treated with some Fresh Feet ™ technology ("Silver Technology") to stop your feet smelling.
Worse, they have now decided to apply these new "Technologies" even to the remaining 100% cotton products. Want 100% cotton handkerchieves? Sorry, you can only have them treated with germicides or bacteriocides or spermicides... (I forget the exact wording).
Want 100% cotton underpants? Sorry, you have to have them in the new Stay Fresh™ form, "Sanitised" and containing "Biocidal Ions". The words are on the packaging. I haven't made them up.
Now, I thought you sanitised underpants by putting them in the washing machine. How come they need sanitising even before you wear them?
I Googled "Biocidal Ions" and it seems that all the Patents are recent and there are only 1,100 results in total. I Googled ' "Biocidal Ions" + Cotton' and to my amazement there were only 7 results.
I am no scientist. It seems that these technologies involve putting fabrics through water containing some mixture of copper / zinc / silver ions. It almost sounds as if you clean up the product - sanitise it - before you sell it. Does that mean that these new "Technologies" are ways of compensating for dirty raw cotton or dirty factories turning the cotton into underpants?
But the impression given is that the "sanitising" is of your own body fluids and odours. If that's the case, I'd like to see more than seven Google results before I voted to have "biocidal ions" in contact with my genitals.
Maybe these new Technologies are innocuous or even beneficial, but no one is explaining or justifying their introduction. We need a Campaign for Real Cotton, products which may be bleached or dyed, but which are 100% cotton without modification by new "Technologies" of very recent vintage and which, as far as I can see, have so far been very little discussed in the public domain.
Time now to check out The White Company...