Hammam towels, beach towels, hand towels, beach bed covers, kimonos, tunics, kikoys, foutas, pareos, plaids … you name it. All hand-knotted and woven from high-quality cotton by artisanal family businesses in Turkey, Tunisia, Bali and Kenya. That is Fashion4Wellness, the Dutch textile brand from designer Lidy de Roos.
Each item in the Fashion4Wellness collection is eye-catching, super soft, comfortable and unique. That’s because they’ve been handmade by people with a tradition of weaving, embroidering and knotting in their families which go back generations. Fashion4Wellness’ products are sold throughout Europe and are ideal for the beach, in the sauna, on holiday, at the swimming pool, in the wellness centre or, of course, simply at home.
Love at first sight
Fashion4Wellness’ story first started in 1995, when Lidy de Roos was on holiday in Turkey. She visited a traditional weaving mill where hammam towels were being made in a little village. De Roos: “The towels were so beautiful. It was love at first sight. I decided: “I’m going to do something with those towels one day”. By 2008, she had done it. “I took over a webshop, hetcadeau.nl, with a partner. We mainly sold promotional gifts, Christmas hampers and … bathing fabrics! I finally had an opportunity to start selling those beautiful towels from Turkey.”
So, how are things going? “One thing led to another”, De Roos reminisces: “More websites followed, such as www.hamamdoek.nl and www.fashion4wellness.com. The focus gradually started moving more and more towards textiles and I started to design my own patterns and products. This resulted in the foundation of our own brand, Fashion4Wellness, in 2015. Last year we also launched the Balyy brand, with beautiful products from Bali. Now, my partner and I travel all over the world, searching for new products, suppliers and techniques. Doing this allows us to come across the most beautiful places and meet the most special people. All our products are made by small family businesses in countries such as Turkey, Tunisia, Kenya and Bali. The weaving techniques are often passed down from father to son for generations. The bond we now have with these people is invaluable. The fact that we can make their lives a little easier – because we work without intermediaries and always pay a fair price – gives us a lot of satisfaction.”
Kikoys and foutas
Coming back to the products … Kikoys and foutas, what exactly are they? Lidy laughs. “Most people are very familiar with hammam towels”, she explains. “These towels have been used in Turkish baths, known as hammams, for centuries. These kinds of sauna towels are called foutas in Tunisia. Kikoys come from Kenya and are traditional wraparounds for men. A kikoy features soft towelling on the inside and a woven layer with a beautiful pattern on the outside. The difference between the various towels and wraparounds, which are made from responsibly sourced cotton from small local farmers, is in the weaving technique. Each country has its own traditions and weaving techniques. A kikoy, for example, could never be made in Turkey and you wouldn’t find a fouta in Kenya.”
De Roos talks about the fact that she discovered the ancient batik technique in Bali, a specific way of decorating woven fabrics. “We have the most beautiful beach towels, tunics, kimonos and pareos made from this,” she says. “Because the products are handmade, there may be weaving or printing faults in them. Customers must be aware of that. Luckily most people simply find that charming, especially if they know the story behind our products.”
Fashion4Wellness is proof that you can achieve a great deal with slow and responsible fashion. The brand has become a familiar name in the wellness sector in recent years. The range has expanded little by little. For instance, plaids and blankets are now new members of the Fashion4Wellness family. And the number of sales outlets is steadily growing. “We deliver to all kinds of customers, large and small”, says De Roos. “From little boutiques to hotels and wellness centres and from small webshops to big online players like Zalando. In other words, we have lots of good stuff in the pipeline and we look forward to our continued growth. We would therefore certainly also like interested retailers to get in touch with us.”
Read more about Fashion4Wellness on the brand page: fashionunited.com/companies/fashion4wellness