In 1934, Kontex was established in Imabari City in the Shikoku region of Japan. Imabari hosts a large cotton processing and dyeing industry, with a long history in producing more than 60% of towels in the country.
(Photos: Courtesy of Kontex)
Kontex seeks the most suitable type of cotton for towels and gently spins it into soft yarn. Since such delicate threads cannot withstand the stresses from modern high-speed weaving machines, Kontex artisans builds upon traditional weaving techniques and uses old low-speed machines to weave their towels. The refined properties of the yarn henceforth stay intact, giving Kontex towels their unique, beautiful, and soft texture.
In Saijo near Imabari, Kontex washes all their finished towels with the melting snow water from Mountain Ishizuchi. The water in Saijo is among the softest waters in the world, allowing Kontex towels to be cleansed thoroughly of starch, wax, and other additives used during manufacturing. This final process not only enables the towels to be highly absorbent at the very first use, but also guarantees that each towel is free of impurities when it touches your skin.
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With no written language, the Hmong people create intricate patterns on Batik textiles, and use them as story-telling devices.
The Nankeen dyeing technique, dating back 3,000 years, is native to China’s Jiangsu province. Known also as Lan Yin Hua Bu (蓝印花布) and Blue Calico, it’s still practiced traditionally today in a handful of small workshops. Using hand-cut paper screens, soybean paste thickened with lime, and natural indigo dye, artisans print contemporary versions of ancient patterns on locally-grown cottons and linens outside the city of Shanghai.