Features and Benefits of our Favourite Turkish Towel
Stray & Wander is a Canadian company offering ethically-sourced products from around the world. Here at Hair Holistic, we are proud to carry Hair Towels both in our Toronto studio, and in our online shop. We love them, not just because they are beautiful and gentle on hair, but for many reasons you'll learn in this blog post.
Read on to hear more from Stray & Wander about the intention and history behind these beautiful products.
Photo by Jake Gogan
History of the Turkish Towel, or Peshtemal
Many of us are aware of the incredible benefits of Turkish towels, but their history is a little less known. While these stylish and lightweight textiles are commonly spotted in curated boutiques, spas, and fitness studios, their popularity dates back to the 14th century, way before they became a regular fixture in our Instagram feeds.
The first Turkish baths or Hamams, were built in the 14th century, and included hot steam rooms, and cold water for bathing; the Turkish towel or peshtemal was the main material used in the Hamam. The quick drying properties of the peshtemal, and its light weight, made it the perfect towel to dry the body after bathing.
In the 17th century, royals and their courtiers wanted the peshtemal with a more ornate design, and hired weavers to create them, by hand, on a loom. The design and colours woven into the towel often indicated which region people were from. This tradition continues today and is part of what makes enjoying the Turkish Towel or peshtemal so special; not only is it a stylish and functional lifestyle accessory, but it’s also a longstanding element of Turkish culture and history.
What Sets Our Turkish Towels Apart
Let's begin by considering where we source our products from. All our Turkish textiles are hand-loomed in rural villages in Turkey. We work exclusively with women’s cooperatives, small family-run businesses, and individual artisans. We believe in fair trade, which is why our prices vary by design. The more complex a weaving pattern is, the longer it takes to weave, and the more the maker is paid.
We value the amount of energy and skill that goes into creating these beautiful textiles. Our philosophy is simple: we buy directly from the artisans who make our products, and the artisans set the prices for their goods, and are paid fairly for their work. Our products are made one at a time, by hand.
We believe in the beauty of imperfection and that handmade products carry within them the energies of their maker. By committing to ethical business practices and fair trade, we are helping to preserve the traditional methods of production that we value.
Our towels and blankets are made from 100% organically-grown Turkish cotton This special cotton is extremely absorbent and dries exceptionally quickly, making our towels the perfect choice for the beach, the bathroom, the yoga studio, and the gym.
A mere 1% of the world’s cotton is grown organically. The other 99% is produced conventionally, with a heavy reliance on pesticides, fertilizers, insecticides and other toxic chemicals (Textile Exchange, 2010).
OK, but why does this matter? Why should I choose organic? What are the negative implications of conventional cotton, and why is organic cotton SO much better? For an in-depth exploration of the benefits (for both humans and the environment) of choosing organic cotton, check out this two-part post on our blog.
As a brand, our focus has always been on bringing beautiful, handmade and fair trade products to the global marketplace, and on helping to preserve the ancient traditions behind these art forms. By shopping ethically with brands such as ours, which support artisans and their cultural traditions, we, as a whole, preserve these beautiful and ancient practices.
Who makes our products, as well as how they are made and under what conditions, informs every decision we make as a business. We believe that there are ethical ways of doing business. This steadfast belief is at the core of who we are as a company, who we are as global citizens and who we are as individuals.
Our full product line is designed with versatility in mind. Centering versatility in our designs stems from our strong belief in buying less. By buying well-made and ethically-made products that are versatile and will last a lifetime, we are minimizing our levels of consumer consumption. Whether from an organizational, financial, or environmental point of view, having one item that fulfills multiple uses, makes good sense.
While our Turkish towels look stunning in the kitchen, bathroom, and on the beach, they have so many more uses! Here are a few of our favourites:
1. Wanderlust Accessory
Whether you’re trekking though a sleepy Costa Rican surf town, or logging some serious hours in the park this weekend, we’d suggest bringing at least one of our full-size Turkish towels along for the trip. Light weight, quick-drying, and roomy enough to sit or stretch out on, these organic cotton Turkish textiles are just the ticket for wherever your adventures take you.
2. Yoga Mat Towel
We could all use a little OM in our lives, and in our opinion there’s nothing worse than slipping on your mat when you’re trying to focus on your downward dog. We’ve discovered that our Stray & Wander full size, and small towels are perfect to place over our mats for some added traction. The small Turkish towels also double as sweat towels!
3. Hair Towel
We’ve discovered that our small towels make drying a cinch, and help to reduce frizz. The super-absorbent fibres in the organic Turkish cotton decrease drying time, and even the towels themselves dry out quickly once we’re done. Our rainbow of colours makes it easy to match any bathroom décor, or add a pop of brightness to a neutral room.
4. Scarf or Shawl
As summer draws closer, we remember that one of the nicest ways to celebrate cooler evenings is by wrapping our cold shoulders in one of our full-size towels. We love the look styled with distressed denim and a simple white T, either draped around us, or looped softly at the neck.
Stray & Wander offers a curated collection of ethically sourced Turkish towels and blankets. They work with women’s cooperatives, family run businesses and individual artisans. Their focus is on bringing beautiful handmade and fair trade products to the global marketplace, and helping to preserve the ancient traditions behind these art forms. Check out there website for their entire line of full size towels and large, cozy blankets.
Check out how we use it at Hair Holistic in our hair cleansing routine
and pick up a Stray & Wander Turkish Towel today in our online shop.
Let us know what you think!
Cover photo by @quickcreate