Perfect Tees: Everything You Need to Know About Our Favorite T-Shirt

There’s nothing quite like the perfect t-shirt. A true classic beloved by every style tribe, it’s a closet staple that stays with us from childhood into adulthood. To us, the humble t-shirt personifies timelessness: for all its simplicity, its classic design has survived through decades, trend cycles, and the rise of fast fashion. That same concern for longevity fuels the Sasawashi company: a family business since 2000, Sasawashi was founded as a reaction to the wastefulness and ephemeral lifespan of the textile industry. It all began with Dr. Toru Itoi, an expert textile designer who became interested in creating a revolutionary, all-natural fabric that would withstand wear-and-tear, repel stains, and outlast trend cycles. His efforts created sasawashi, an all-natural hybrid fabric that combined the strength of traditional Japanese washi paper with the antibacterial properties of the Japanese Kumazasa plant. That same material marks the start of our first entry into apparel: a classic, universally-flattering crewneck tee that outlasts anything else currently hanging in your closet.

As it happens, the key to making the perfect tee is in the materials. Sasawashi takes both its name and manufacturing philosophy from the tradition of ancient Japanese papermaking (washi). Washi is made in a similar way to that of ordinary paper, except that it uses fewer chemicals. Japanese washi makers use mulberry tree fibers, which are the strongest-fibered plants that grow locally in Japan. This prevents fabric deterioration and ensures that your favorite t-shirt stays in rotation for years. While the fibers are soaked, kumazasa plant flakes are infused into the washi, imbuing it with natural antibacterial properties. Afterwards, the washi sheets are cut into slits and twisted into yarn, which makes up the bulk of the sasawashi t-shirt.

So what features do these two materials give the t-shirt? We’re glad you asked.

KUMAZASA ///  A variety of bamboo that grows in the highlands of Japan, kumazasa is known for its natural anti-allergen, antibacterial and deodorizing properties. These natural properties prevent unpleasant odors and bacteria growth in the fibers, resulting in a clean, hypoallergenic t-shirt that feels good against the skin.

 WASHI /// A hyper-functional natural material, washi makes an excellent fabric for clothing. Approximately 50% more absorbent than cotton, its fibers wick away moisture to keep you dry and comfortable in any weather. The strong fibers can also take liquids and stains, making tees look like new after just one wash.


Elements of Style

UV Protection
Everybody knows to use sunscreen at the beach, but did you know harmful UV rays can sneak into your skin through your clothing? Loosely woven textiles like linen and some cottons have little gaps in the weaving that UV rays can penetrate to get to the skin. Sasawashi fabric naturally blocks 98% of UV rays, all without using chemicals in its textile manufacturing. It's like sunscreen, but for clothes.

Sasawashi is 50% more absorbent than cotton, acting as a performance fabric that wicks away moisture. Stains are no match for its fibers, either: during sample testing, Dr. Itoi spent hours marking Sasawashi samples in pen, spilling red wine on the fabrics, and boiling and washing the fabric repeatedly to find weaknesses. All stains washed off effortlessly, making dreaded pit stains a thing of the past.


Hidden Features

Just like a house, good insulation is the key to feeling warm in the winter and cool in the summer. The Sasawashi T-shirt features textile insulation so your body feels comfortable no matter the season. We like wearing it on its own during the summer or layered under a flannel or sweater in cooler temperatures.

Low Maintenance
As opposed to organic cotton, which can be fragile and form holes after a few uses, the sturdy Sasawashi fabric only gets softer with washing. Sasawashi fabric is also shrink-free, meaning you needn't fear your washing machine anymore (though we suggest keeping it clear of the dryer just to be safe).

A flattering tee that won’t stretch, show sweat stains, or itch? Sounds good to us.