Velour Beach Towels...what's Velour? - Layday™

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March 27, 2020

So you've probably read or seen on our homepage that we don't actually produce towels with the common velour side

Think that's kinda weird? Considering that it’s the norm for most towel manufacturers, brands and stores? 

In this post, we’re going to rip through the reasons why we don’t make velour side's and also explain a little bit more about the process involved in creating velour textiles.


What is Velour?


You may have heard the term “velour” before when looking at clothes or fabrics. In fact, you may have even mistaken it for a fibre, but velour is actually a process and not specific to a material. Some parts of the world even refer to velour fabrics as “sheared” fabrics due to the way it’s created.


The term velour is given to a soft and plush textile that can be compared to velvet. In fact, the French word for velvet is actually velour, so you can imagine that this can complicate things. You can often tell when something is velour due to the incredibly soft finish. The process was very popular throughout the 70s and 80s but has seen a recent surge in modern-day textile production. Velour finishes are typically made from cotton or polyester fabrics and they can be used in a wide variety of different applications, but in this post, we’re going to talk about their use in towels and why we choose NOT to finish one side of our towels with the velour process.


How is Velour Made?


When conventional towels are created the fabric is passed through machines that loom very small loops on the surface. The name given to this type of fabric is “terrycloth” and the loops are often referred to as terry loops or terry toweling. The purpose of these tiny loops is to create a surface area that is highly absorbent and able to soak in larger amounts of liquid, hence why it’s popular for bath towels..and towels that don't need to dry out super quickly. 


When creating a velour side, the terry-looped fabric is put through another machine and the loops are sheared off, creating a luxuriously smooth finish but, as you might expect, completely ruining the thicker cotton pile/yarn designed to actually hold water in! For everyday clothes and comfort pieces, this makes sense. For a towel, this makes absolutely no sense and is the main reason why we do not believe in velour towels...for travelling.


Why Was Velour Added to Towels?


For some reason, textile manufacturers decided to start turning half of their towels into velour to give customers a soft-to-the-touch finish on one side of their towels. This created the velour towel craze and the idea was that you could sit at a beach or wrap yourself in the velour side of the towel for a soft and comfortable feel. For a while, it made sense that you could have a dual-action towel; one side would be absorbent and another side would be soft so that you could use it for comfort.


However, as time went on, people started to realize that towels aren’t designed necessarily for comfort but to soak water. When you’re at the beach and go for a swim, nobody wants to fumble with their towel to find the absorbent side just to get dry and the last thing you want when coming out of a steaming shower is to flip your towel around looking for the water-soaking side.


What is Velour Used For?


In the past, velour was the fabric of choice between the 1960s and 1970s. It was soft, comfortable, could be coloured and even printed on with relative ease. It was the complete opposite of what people would usually wear and it became a huge hit for both men and women. It was popularized by pop and celebrity icons throughout the years and even saw use by some sportswear brands to create velour tracksuits. It also saw a lot of use in upholstery and furniture such as chairs, and it was very cheap to produce as opposed to velvet and it gave the impression of a high-end luxury product


Today, velour is still just as soft to the touch and used in casual wear such as pyjamas, tracksuits, slippers and dressing gowns. People are aware now that velour is just a cheaper version of velvet, even though it has also fallen out of fashion and hasn’t made a comeback for a long time. This has also affected the reputation of velour and it’s no longer a mainstream popular choice for everyday clothing.


In addition, velvet is much easier to make with modern industrial tools, making velour somewhat obsolete. It’s still a much cheaper option to manufacture and it’s still seeing a lot of use, but it’s taking a backseat to other fabrics. In the case of towels, many manufacturers are cutting out the velour process and instead, reverting back to towels which can actually serve their function of absorbing water and drying you.


Another popular use of velour is that it’s very easy to print on as opposed to other fabrics. This means that brands can easily add big logos and loud designs to a velour towel, but still, it doesn’t retain any of its absorbent properties from when it used to be terrycloth.


So...


We hope that makes a bit more sense to why Layday doesn't believe in terry velour towels. Not only does it ruin the absorbent properties of the towel...but we're in the game of carrying less and flatwoven towels simply pack better. 


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