By Angela Audretsch. May 05, 2011
Cotton is one of natures super materials. It is breathable, hypoallergenic, practical, sustainable, recyclable and robust. But can it be luxurious as well? According to Jane Robson, founder of The Fine Cotton Company, it can be. As suppliers to superyachts and the hospitality industry, The Fine Cotton Company is well versed in the world of high-quality textiles. Sourcing all of its cotton from Italy, Portugal and Turkey, it delivers an ethically superior collection of chic designs in organic cottons of up to 1000 thread count. Jane took the time to answer some of SuperyachtDesigns questions about this time-honoured textile.
SYD: Cotton can feel a bit utilitarian - can it be a luxury product too?
JR: Yes. The feel of the cotton very much depends on four main things: the length of the cotton fibres (we use extra long staple yarns for most of our fabrics) the yarn count, i.e. the coarseness of the yarn if the yarn is carded or combed and the weave of the fabric. The cotton yarn needs to be fully combed, removing all the short fibres resulting in a smoother thread. Once woven into the bed linen a combed yarn gives a much smoother fabric compared to a carded one. The higher the number of threads per inch, the better the quality of the bed linen and the more luxurious. For example, our Seville 600 thread count sateen weave, our latest stock collection, is a luxurious cotton fabric with a silk like feel. It also drapes beautifully. We offer up to 1000 thread count in our special order ranges.
SYD: What are the benefits of organic cotton?
JR: Organic cotton is unrivalled and will last longer than 'easy care' cotton fabrics where formaldehyde has often been used and weakened the fabric. This is why organic cotton can withstand laundering at high temperatures better than non-organic cottons. The Fine Cotton Company ensures optimum quality by offering natural and organic fabrics, all ethically produced without any harmful chemicals or pesticides. Non-organic cotton and polyester blends within the superyacht or hospitality markets should be avoided, as they can feel hot and sticky with a tendency to 'pill' after washing. Organic cottons are far more effective in absorbing moisture and perspiration than non-organic fabrics, which allows bed linen to 'breathe' and aid heat regulation during sleep for the comfort of guests and end users.
SYD: What makes high thread count organic cotton so durable?
JR: It is all down to the weave of the fabric. Because organic cotton is grown naturally without any chemicals or pesticides, the fibres are allowed to grow to their natural length without breaking, resulting in a longer, smoother fibre. The cotton threads are then combed and then woven into a variety of bed linens, which are softer and extremely durable because of the lack of chemicals that are used during growing and manufacture. For softness and durability organic cotton really is hard to beat.
SYD: What are your superyacht clients looking for?
JR: A discreet and confidential service offering high quality bed linen, as well as anything from duvets, pillows, mattress protectors, blankets, monogrammed towels and bath robes, to slippers, laundry bags and table linens. We are able to advise clients on the most suitable products for their needs and customers can order one-offs of most products. For bedding we make to the exact sizes and unusual shapes.
SYD: Are there any special care considerations for organic cotton on board yachts?
JR: Keep bedding fresh by allowing air to flow through. Launder the cotton regularly using non-biological washing powder. If the yacht has drying facilities, do not dry completely as cotton is far easier to iron whilst damp. Our most popular collection for yachts is the Trieste, a 410 thread count percale with one line satin stitch. Made in Italy, this ranges combines luxury a