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Cottoning on to Cotton

Written by Helene Pilhage


Posted on September 21 2016

Cotton sheets that have been dried on a line in the sunshine, translucent cotton curtains shifting in the breeze, a bright cotton sarong laid out on the beach, freshly ironed cotton napkins, a favourite cotton shirt softened over years of wear, cotton pillowcases handed down from a grandmother... cotton is in our lives as one of our simplest pleasures - an everyday luxury. 

From the day we are born, cotton is the fabric most desirable to have against our skin.
Gentle but durable, delicate but also strong, it is the material we seem to instinctively gravitate toward as the only suitable choice for what to put against the skin of an infant. Diaphanous muslin wraps, snugly cotton blankets, teeny cotton singlets, fresh cotton sheets – cotton is a fabric that respects and nurtures. It filters harsh light, lets in the breeze, cools in hot weather, warms in cool weather and is wonderfully absorbent.

The word cotton is derived from the Arabic ‘qutun’ or ‘kutun’ which is the word used to describe a fine textile. Cotton has been cultivated for centuries and fragments of cotton dated from as long ago as 6000BC have been excavated in the Indus River Valley near Pakistan. There are a large variety of cotton plant species and Australia has a particularly diverse range. The plant itself is a wonderful thing with the soft fibre growing in a boll on the plant (some cotton even grows on trees) – it is delightfully fluffy and soft and is extraordinarily versatile in its uses. We of course know it best as the fabric we love to use in clothes production – denim, terrycloth, twill, chambray, seersucker, corduroy, muslin, yarn – but it is also used in the manufacture of money notes, tents, oils, filters of all kinds, fishing nets and book binding to name a few.

Australian summer is no better context for the sweet and simple luxury of beautiful cotton clothes. I’m already enjoying the swish of my cotton maxi skirt around my legs and can’t wait to change my ankle boots for sandals and bare my arms to the sun. As you know, here at Kaja cotton is our favourite fabric to work with and we use it extensively in both our winter and summer collections. It is, however, during summer of course that our cotton pieces really come into their own. I love the tissue soft Indian cotton of our Elizabeth tunic which combines a delicate vintage vibe with a contemporary boho-chic style.


The crisp green pintucked cotton of the sweet Emmelie dress will put an instant spring in your step and the antique blossom print of the Carissa tunic will have butterflies landing on your shoulders.  

And just as cotton can be floaty and whimsical and intricately detailed, it can also be elegantly structured and tailored and we are delighted to introduce the Fay trousers into our spring collection which, paired with simple white or vivid orange, make for a versatile and stylish day-to-evening, work-to pleasure-option.

So have a little stroll through our collection online and make your summer soft, cool, breathable and simply luxurious with cotton.


Sheets image via Omimattress, baby image via Essential Baby



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