The Texas Organic Cotton Cooperative, through whom we sourced the material, has high standards for environmental impact as well as quality, and it truly shows.
The hand of this cotton is the perfect balance between structured and soft: the Organic Cotton Truck stands up on its own so it's still easy to load, yet has a just-right amount of softness and slouch that makes it soft and comfortable in-hand and against the body.
The three colors that we had custom-produced and dyed (or left undyed) just for us include:
Santa Cruz is a purple with shadows of electric blue. It's inspired by the TOM BIHN logo t-shirts and sweatshirts of the 80's and early 90's, back when the TOM BIHN company was a one-man shop in Santa Cruz, California.
Talus could be described as a pastel black or a dark grey. It reminds us of a perfectly weathered and worn t-shirt.
Natural is truly au naturel: an undyed, warm off-white with flecks of darker and lighter yarns throughout. This color truly lets the character of the cotton shine through. If you choose to go au naturel, realize that you will be embracing the character that could come over time with life, stains, age, and wear. We've been using a sample Truck in Natural for the past eight months at farmer's markets around town: the bottom shows some darker coloration from being set on the asphalt or dirt ground, though the rest of the bag still looks new except for an incident with a beet. We personally embrace this: it shows the bag is used, loved, and is all the better for it.
Cotton canvas was the go-to fabric for bags and backpacks for decades prior to the introduction of nylon fabrics by the military in the early 1940s. Though synthetics fabrics are definitely longer lived materials (sometimes to the detriment of the environment), cotton has a certain aesthetic charm unmatched by synthetic materials.
Expect the wear, age and lifespan of cotton to be different than that of ballistic nylon. Of course, by no means is a TOM BIHN tote bag made of cotton a single-use, disposable product: you can still expect years and years of use from it, though perhaps not decades.