Turkish Towels: an Explanation and a History
Turkish Towels are having a moment right now. Designers and magazines feature them; everyone from Gwyneth Paltrow to Oprah to Martha Stewart are recommending Turkish towels. So that might have you wondering: what is a Turkish towel, exactly? And why are they better? Loomed NOLA is here to answer all your questions, and help you sort what is good from what is merely good marketing!
What is a Turkish Towel?
A Turkish towel is a towel made in Turkey. No, really! There is no single definition or unifying feature to help you weed out mediocre towels from superb ones. Wal Mart sold Turkish towels in packs of 19 for $2.99 this past holiday season. Not quite the stuff of luxury, right?
Luxurious, plush towels were first created by Turkish weavers sometime during the eighteenth century. The women of the sultan’s harem demanded something more beautiful and luxe than the flat towels they were used to, and the weavers complied. Adding a second warp thread tied off by the weft thread, they were able to add hundreds of tiny loops to a flat piece creating what we now recognize as a towel.
Before these plush towels were invented, people used flat woven towels, which are fueling the current craze. They come to us in many names: fouta towel, pestamel, peshtemel, etc. Pestamel combine the absorbency of cotton with the quick-dry of a flat woven piece.
Are all plush Turkish Towels created equal?
Nope. Mass produced cotton or poly-fiber blends woven on large factory machines are pretty much the same wherever you get them, but if they were made in Turkey or use Turkish materials, people call them “Turkish Towels”. Polyester blend towels make particularly bad towels because polyester fibers don’t absorb water (definitely not what you want in a towel).
Towels that have been hand-woven are better than factory loomed towels because the cotton has been handled better at slower speeds, and will last longer. Remember those towels passed down from your grandmother? Yep, those were probably hand-loomed. You should definitely fight your sister for them.
What’s the big deal with the flat woven Turkish Towels?
Flat woven Turkish Towels, or pestamel, are popular right now because they are practical. They dry quickly while still drying you off. They fold down to a fraction of their size making them a breeze to bring to and from the beach. They launder easily. The list goes on — basically, they make your load lighter and your life easier.
Why are the Turkish Towels from Loomed NOLA superior to others?
Our towels are made from organic cotton or linen. Organic cotton makes a BIG difference when it comes to absorbency and durability. Cotton that hasn’t been exposed to harsh chemicals during the growing and processing phase make it to the loom with its strength and softness intact. Organic cotton gets better with age and use, and it stays soft, too.
Our towels are hand-woven by artisan weavers whose families have been weaving for a long time. Like hundreds of years long. Their ancestors invented the plush towel. Additionally, when fibers are run through factory looms at super high speeds, both cotton and linen fibers become stressed resulting in a rough feel and poor quality thread. Although our weavers are very speedy, they take care of the thread as they work with it.
Another advantage to hand-woven pieces? A human’s eye for creativity and design. A machine can’t create a unique pattern with a rainbow of colors. Because our weavers are artists, they can easily change and create and improve their designs making our selection unique in today’s market.
The finest plush towels in the world are hand-woven from organic Turkish cotton. They can be found at Loomed NOLA.
The best flat-woven towels are hand-woven from organic Turkish cotton. They combine the best materials with an artist’s eye for beauty and design. They are functional, beautiful, and durable. They can also be found at Loomed NOLA
We will see you soon!