Egyptian cotton has long been synonymous with luxury. Its superior status within the cotton family has transformed the term into a buzzword, turning up everywhere from song lyrics to novels. But what makes Egypt’s most infamous export so special?
LONG, STRONG THREADSIn textile production, a standard length of fibre is called a staple. Egyptian cotton is distinguished from its lesser counterparts by its extra-long staple. These long, luxe fibres are stronger than other varieties and more easily spun into thread, as opposed to spinning many shorter pieces together. Egyptian cotton thread have continuous length and can be easily woven into strong, lustrous fabric.
HAND-PICKED WITH LOVEPrimarily cultivated in the Nile Delta, a known agricultural region, the warm, dry desert climate is ideal for growing cotton. But although the Egyptian cotton plant originates in Egypt, it is technically possible to grow the variety in other countries that have the appropriate climate – similarly to how a good Cabernet grape can be grown in South America, Italy or California. Despite its international production, Egyptian cotton still only accounts for 0.5% of the world’s cotton output: a fact that contributes to its sought-after status.
Origins aside, all Egyptian cotton has a long ripening period and is therefore carefully picked by hand. The absence of mechanical harvesting leaves the fibres intact and undamaged, in the best possible state for spinning.