Cotton is ubiquitous in the United States. Nearly everywhere we look in our homes, we have products made of cotton. From the clothes on our back to bedspreads and pet beds, cotton is the textile of choice. With cotton so fully entrenched in our daily lives, it is easy to forget that there are different types of cotton, and that some cottons are truly better than others. As Americans, we’re largely taught that cotton is a domestic product.
Cotton, as it turns out, has a rich and vibrant history dating back centuries from cultures across the world. Specifically, Turkish cotton’s history is compelling and really serves as the foundation for today’s cotton industry. At Via Seven, we value the history, quality, and character the exemplifies Turkish cotton. With that in mind, we’d love to share with you some of the amazing history and features that make Turkish cotton world-renowned.
History of Turkish Cotton
Cotton has been an important product and cultural cornerstone of Turkey for thousands of years. In fact, it has been produced in Turkey since at least 400 A.D. Turkey’s warm climate and rich soil is ideal for the growth and cultivation of cotton. For centuries, much of the cotton produced in Turkey has been handmade in local homes, with weaving and looming techniques passed down from generation to generation.
When the Roman Empire was in power in the region, the Turkish towel, or peshtemal, became a prominent fixture in hammams, or public baths, that were inspired by the Roman baths of the period. From the beginning, these luxurious towels were soft to the touch, and extremely lightweight. Each region had their own unique patterns and designs, which still continues in many regions today.
Fabric of the Finest Quality
Given its long history, it is no surprise that Turkish cotton is held in the highest regard across the world. Currently, Turkey is responsible for providing over 40% of the world’s organic cotton. This means that much of Turkey’s cotton production is made without poisonous or noxious chemicals. As such, clothing and towels made of organic Turkish cotton is not only better for the environment, but is also healthier for the weavers who create these products. Larger cotton producers, such as China and India which employ harsh chemicals, fertilizers, and pesticides in their cotton production. While these practices may increase cotton yields in the short term, their use not only damages the soil, but also makes its way into the final product that makes it to market. Gross.
Another factor that separates Turkish cotton from cotton produced in other parts of the world its flat weave. The flat weave of the peshtemal gives these towels some of their most memorable and useful qualities. Flat weaves make for thinner, more portable towels. You will never find a bulky peshtemal towel. If you do, it isn’t real peshtemal! Don’t be fooled by imitation towels. A true Turkish peshtemal is lightweight and thin, especially when compared to big terrycloth towels. Such lightweight towels are ideal for travel, the gym, and are versatile enough to double as picnic blankets by day and wraps by night.
Another benefit of the flat weave is that the long fibers are incredibly absorbent. But since the towels aren’t thick, they also dry exceptionally quick, even in the most humid environments.
Not Your Ordinary Towel
Once you’ve experienced the difference of peshtemal Turkish towels, going back to terry cloth towels will seem like venturing back to the dark ages! Not only will you and your family love the exquisite softness (that only gets softer after each wash!), but the lively patterns and designs of your peshtemals will be truly unique.
Imagine guests walking into your restroom. When they go to dry their hands, they’re met with a vibrant, baby-soft peshtemal that isn’t dripping wet from the wet hands of the previous guests. The quick-drying nature of the peshtemal, its luxurious feel, and its dynamic designs make it a wonderfully functional accent feature of your washroom.
The Big Guys are Catching on…
We have been using Turkish cotton and peshtemal products in our own homes for years and years. At first, the only items we had were items that we loved so much on our travels abroad to Turkey, because we couldn’t find the same quality in the United States. In fact, it is from conversations with friends and family noticing our peshtemals that we first had the idea for Via Seven.
It also appears out that the “Turkish Secret” is out! Larger clothing and fashion chains are attempting to jump on the peshtemal bandwagon, not that we can blame them. While some of the larger chains may be able to beat us on price, they can’t beat us on quality. Additionally, at Via Seven, our work is about so much more than our bottom line. When you purchase items from us, you help us advance our mission to empower impoverished and marginalized women at fair trade wages. We’re not so sure the other folks can say the same. To learn more about the causes we care about, visit Our Causes on our website.
Consumers today are savvier than they were even 10 years ago. Not only are they savvier, but they require high quality products. With the proliferation of farm-to-table and organic foods across the nation, it is no wonder that people also want to know where their clothing and fabrics come from.
At Via Seven, we want our customers to know exactly where their peshtemals come from. That’s why our team visits Turkey several times per year, meeting the women responsible for creating the beautiful crafts that we offer one our website. Unlike other towels that run through a machinated assembly line before being dyed and shipped, the Turkish cotton used by our artisans is 100% highest quality Turkish cotton.
We hope that you enjoy the Via Seven Turkish cotton products as much as we love delivering them to you. For thousands of years, Turkish cotton has (quite literally) been the fabric of the lives for millions of people, and we are happy to share this with you.