When in Tunisia, do as the Tunisians do. While living in Tunisia on a Fulbright scholarship, founder Pauline Eveillard discovered foutas: multipurpose, vibrantly colored cotton towels. While she studied Roman mosaics, Eveillard kept an eye on the many ways Tunisian households used foutas. Her scholarly wheels began to turn in a whole new way, and she knew America had to get in on this textile action. After sussing out the logistics (Eveillard insists on excellent quality cotton, striking design, and fair-trade practices), fouta lifestyle was officially born in 2010.
Calling foutas “towels” is a bit of an understatement. Traditionally used as such in hammams (Turkish baths), these brightly colored lengths of fringed fabric are equally skilled at being shawls, scarves, throws, picnic blankets, and even tablecloths. And, unlike that cashmere pashmina you splurged on, foutas are 100 percent cotton, machine-washable, and totally cool with being wadded up and shoved in bags until the next time they’re needed.
The reign of bulky terrycloth may be coming to an end—lightweight foutas aren’t just more fun, they’re often more absorbent.