Just as the Nile is the longest river in the world, so was our journey to select the right cotton for our bed linen. Our search was extensive and exhilarating! We’d like to share it with you.
Our priorities were the feel, the look, the durability and, ultimately, the entire experience. With our priorities set, we tested many varieties of cotton from around the world.
100% Giza Egyptian Cotton
We finally arrived at our choice: the finest long-staple 100% Giza Egyptian cotton, grown in the fertile Nile delta which has the precise recipe of sunlight, moisture, and nutrient-rich soil required to grow top quality cotton plants. Of all the cotton produced in the world, only 0.5% is cultivated to this level of perfection, which makes it extremely rare. Held in the very highest regard, it is truly the cream of the crop.
ZayZay’s 100% Certified Egyptian cotton has exceptional qualities:
Its long-staple fibres are the hallmark of what produces such exceptionally fine, soft, and strong fabric. Remarkably, this cotton gets softer with each wash, and will maintain its durability for a lifetime.
Inferior cotton is made from short-staple fibres. Short-staple cotton does not perform as well as long-staple cotton, and it doesn’t take long to discover why. After just a few washes, short-staple cotton fabric grows coarser, pilling will occur, holes may appear, colours fade, and your sleep quality will be diminished.
CUSTOMER AWARENESS – Egyptian cotton is recognized as one of the highest grades of cotton fabric in the world and is greatly sought after by consumers. As a consequence of this high demand, unscrupulous producers are labelling blends, or worse – using counterfeit cotton fabric – as 100% Egyptian cotton. Consumers should be aware that if a product is not certified, then it is not the genuine article. You can easily recognize counterfeit Egyptian cotton fabrics by their enticingly low price. The other indicator is the fabric's performance. These fabrics will not be durable. They will be subject to pilling, breakage, and fading. In addition, counterfeit fabrics will not get softer with each wash, unlike our 100% certified Giza Egyptian cotton.
Why we Chose Percale and Not Sateen
Percale is a plain-weave fabric. It has a matte finish with a look of sophisticated elegance, a fine texture, and it is gentle against your skin. Percale's weave – an even number of threads woven over and under – makes it more durable than the sateen-weave alternative.
Sateen weave has a shiny finish does not absorb moisture as well, and it is less durable than a percale fabric. In fact, a sateen weave can inhibit a better night’s sleep by trapping in heat.
What is Thread Count?
Few things can summon an eyeroll quicker than two little words: thread count
Thread count is important though, and we want you to know why.
Thread count refers to the number of threads per square inch, both vertically and horizontally. The lower the number, the more open the weave. The higher the number, the tighter the weave.
Why Does Thread Count Matter?
After considerable testing, our results proved that the 400 thread count of 100% Giza Egyptian cotton is optimal for softness and breathability. This durable weave allows the perfect amount of air flow to keep your body temperature just right. No more tossing and turning. And for those hot flash moments? This weave wicks away moisture.
ZayZay Duvet Cover Details
Aside from the aesthetic appeal of piping which offers a polished and elegant look, piping adds to the strength and durability of the duvet cover. Considering how we may move in bed, or have children (or pets, or both) jumping about, durability is important.
Everyone can relate to the frustration of seams tearing open after little use. We see this with inferior products whose manufacturers quite literally cut corners with inadequate fabric allowance.
We also use more stitches per inch than our competitors. Some bed linens have a cost-cutting 5 to 7 stitches per inch. We use a resilient 10 stitches per inch.
We are happy (and relieved) to say that our ZayZay duvet covers are completely colourfast. Because we put so much into the vibrancy of our duvets, colourfastness was a huge concern for us. We went through vigorous testing to ensure that the colour held. In fact, we exceeded our manufacturers’ tests. After running our covers through 200 wash and dry cycles (yes, we did this ourselves!), we are ecstatic to say the colour held up brilliantly.
Wondering what kind of benchmark 200 washes is? To put this in perspective: it’s the equivalent of 10 years of washing. Learn more about linen care.
You’ve probably figured out by now that we are very particular about detail (we call ourselves the “Shameless Fussies”). So why would we go to all this trouble to create such gorgeous high-quality duvet covers, then settle for cheap zippers that break or snag after a little bit of use? We didn’t. We use YKK, the best zippers in the world.
YKK zippers are incredibly reliable. But what also got our attention was finding out about the founder, Tadao Yoshida. Yoshida was a tinkerer who designed his own customized zipper machines when he wasn’t satisfied with existing production methods.
Yoshida’s management principle was “The Cycle of Goodness.” – “no one prospers unless he renders benefit to others.” We found this principle inspiring and have adopted it in our own business ethic.
And his glorious zips? They speak for themselves!
Ethical and Eco-Integrity
An imperative in our choice of industry partners is that we have shared values. The textile industry is unregulated and there are many dubious methods of manufacturing. Our partners must adhere to the highest international standards throughout the production process as it relates to environmental integrity and ethical labour practices. We have made a conscious decision to apply the safest initiatives with regard to people and the environment. ZayZay luxury linen is Oeko-Tex and Apcer certified. Learn more about our certifications. Our linen is safer for the planet, adults and babies too.
It is why we decided to go with a like-minded supplier in Portugal, a long established, family-run business that produces superb quality textiles and shows enormous pride in what they do. They have the certifications to validate their adherence to these international standards.
Our partner exemplifies exceptional craftsmanship and obsessive attention to detail in developing our custom woven fabric all the way to the finished product. Their legacy in textiles goes back centuries, and now combined with state of the art technology we have enormous confidence in their ability to produce our world-class luxury linen. This is a relationship we have come to value immensely.
Digital Printing – More Eco-friendly
Textiles are finally catching up to the digital shift seen in paper printing over the last two decades. Digital printing is exponentially kinder on the environment in its usage of water and energy compared to rotary or traditional textile printing. The traditional process uses toxic petroleum-based inks and generates high volumes of polluting effluents and VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) emissions. ZayZay Living only uses digital printing. In other words: your duvet cover has a significantly smaller carbon footprint than a traditionally manufactured bed covering.
We only use eco-friendly water-based inks. All of our inks are non-toxic so no harmful chemicals have gone into the printing of your duvet cover. Our efficient digital printing process minimizes – to the extreme – any wastage of ink.
Why don’t all the manufacturers do this? Because rotary printing and oil-based inks cost less. If a company is only driven by its bottom line, the corporate concern about its product’s environmental impact is, essentially, null. So there is a reason that bed-in-a-bag at the discount store is only $35.
We all pay for this on the other end: you may think you're saving now, but you (and all of us) are paying for it later.
What is Oeko-Tex?
OEKO-TEX® is an independent testing and certification system for textiles at all stages of production. This system is an annual audit that we use to confirm that our products are held to the highest European standards (which well exceed international standards and requirements). We don’t have to do this but we choose to.
The goal is to test for any harmful substances to humans and encourage ongoing improvement of the overall environmental performance within a company.
In order to be certified by OEKO-TEX® Standard 100 all components of an item must comply with their required criteria, including sewing thread and details such as our piping and zippers.
What is Apcer Certification?
The ISO 14001 standard is an international reference for the Certification of Environmental Management Systems. It maps out a framework that a company or organization can follow to set up an effective EMS for meeting appropriate legal requirements, preventing pollution, and continually improving their environmental performance.
Finally, a Bit about Conscious Consumption
Conscious consumption is a vital component in our philosophy. It has steered virtually all our decisions from where we source our raw materials, how our bed linen is made, how it’s free of toxic agents, by whom they are made (and their working conditions), the manufacturing process, and last but not least: the customer experience long after the sale for the entire lifespan of our product.
Our bed linen is specifically designed to be durable, and is made from sustainable resources. This is not the quality of linen you buy on a whim, only to replace it the following year.
Craftsmanship, integrity, and quality set ZayZay apart. These are home accessories of heirloom quality, to be enjoyed today and a lifetime of tomorrows.
From an ecological perspective, we are a company that does not “buy into” the disposable nature of consumption with a short shelf life.
We believe that cheap, badly made products not only threaten the environment with their manufacturing waste (not to mention the ever-growing landfill created by this year’s product being thrown away for next year’s), but also the underpaid workers who make them.
"Prosperity", an award-winning documentary covering health, environmentalism, and conscious capitalism is an excellent feature that we highly recommend watching. It can be viewed at: https://well.org
We believe you get what you pay for and that the outrageous environmental and social price for ongoing disposable consumption is neatly hidden by the mirage of “great deals.”
Someone, somewhere, is paying for this wasteful living, and it’s hurting us all.