Words by Thomas Bird
Located on the island of Shikoku, the city of Imabari is as synonymous with towels as Nimes with denim, champagne with Champagne, Surrey with Manchester United fans. Imabari’s relationship with the this most basic of household items started in 1894 when the brothers Mitsunosuke took it upon themselves to create the perfect towel.
The position of Imabari, coupled with the quality of the Sojagawa river water that flows underground and is therefore void of many impurities making it ideal for the washing and dying of cloth helping maintain the natural softness of the cotton used.
This strive for towel perfection has continued in the region with over 200 different towel production plants in the city itself with no one firm holding a monopoly. Today for a towel to be considered an Imabari towel it must pass a number of quality tests as well as be produced in the area. The most famous of these tests is the five second or no float test. Designed to test a towels absorbency, for the towel to be classified as Imabari, the towel must sink within five seconds. Slower than that, your towel cannot bare the Imabari logo.
Our friends at Thing Fabrics herald from the city of Imabari and have embraced the city and its heritage designing clothing made exclusively from the fabric the city is famous for, towel. The quality of the fabric and the feel against the skin is exactly what you expect from an Imabari towel in garment form!