Take a look through our website and you’ll likely notice that we speak a lot about organic Turkish cotton. It’s what all of our products are made of and, with its eco-conscious, high-quality construction, there’s a good reason for that. In 17th century Türkiye the original towel was called “Havlu”, which translates to ‘with loops’. But what actually makes Turkish cotton products so good? The answer to that question is largely down to the climate and long history of textile production in the region. So, let’s explore these in more detail to explain why it’s still considered to be some of the best organic cotton in the world today.
Without a doubt, Türkiye’s textile industry wouldn’t be as extensive as it currently is without the warm climate and rich soil found in the region. In such an ideal climate, it’s possible to grow cotton with long fibres that result in soft, strong cotton fabrics.
But there’s more to Türkiye’s success than the luck of its climate; the country has also spent a long time perfecting the craft of textiles. It goes back at least as far as the 10th century during the Seljuk period, but it was between 1299 to 1922, during the Ottoman Empire, that textile production became a particularly important part of the Turkish economy. At that time, the Empire relied heavily on the now widespread production of textiles like carpets, rugs and silks. They were considered so important, in fact, that all textiles produced in the empire were a part of the empire’s treasury and, therefore, part of the sultan’s wealth. This financial reliance came with very strict rules and procedures so their products could be trusted for excellent design quality, and Turkish textiles quickly became luxurious items popular in the noble classes.
Towels, in particular, did incredibly well after the influence of the Roman and Byzantine empires led to the rise in popularity of public baths. These were called hammams and became an integral part of society for social, business and cultural purposes. To preserve women’s modesty in the largely Muslim society, though, the peshtemal (or Turkish towel) also became popular during this time. These large, flat-woven, hand-embroidered towels were lightweight but extremely absorbent due to the long Turkish cotton fibres. Many variations were created including designs with a looped pile technique, which we use in our towels at Loop Home.
Soon after the end of the Ottoman Empire, the textile industry experienced rapid development that allowed for higher production capacity. In the 1980’s Turkiye opened to foreign markets and in the 1990’s, the formation of a customs union with the European Union led to further increases. As a result the textile industry quickly became a significant share of total Turkish exports at 9.3%.
Today, textiles are still one of the most important parts of the Turkish economy. The country remains a very successful cotton producer, ranking as the top European country for conventional cotton production. In recent years, they’ve also had a significant shift towards organic cotton and Turkiye is now in the top three countries with the most Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certified facilities. Couple this with a ban on genetic modification and you have a very attractive choice for businesses trying to prioritise high-quality cotton that’s ethically produced and more environmentally friendly.
At Loop Home, we source our organic cotton from the Aegean Coast in Türkiye through a GOTS certified supply chain. As a GOTS certified company ourselves, our manufacturers' sustainable and ethical production match our values, and such good-quality organic cotton means our products can be soft, luxurious and long-lasting.