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On velveteen

PENGUIN

Yes, we love velveteen. All our penguin bags are made of velveteen. Velveteen, unlike velvet or verlour, is 100% cotton. It is luxurious, bright and playful at the same time, and nice to the touch, ideal for our designs.

When I started designing penguin bags, I got stuck with the idea of using velveteen for the above reasons. But I have to say, I found many set backs on my way. Velveteen is widely used in Spain, and other countries, for children’s clothes for weddings and other big celebrations. But it has a reputation of being difficult to take care of and needing dry cleaning.

I remember when almost three years ago I went to El Tritón, a very reputable fabric shop in Gijón, northern Spain, well known for the first class quality of their fabrics and excellent customer service.

“I want to buy velveteen that can be washed in the washing machine”, I said to the gentleman helping me. “Madam”-he said- “such thing does not exist”. I was disappointed. I bought a meter of each velveteen fabric they stocked and decided to do my own research.

I soon discovered how much the colors in regular velveteen run. You just need to get a cotton with a bit of water and rub the velveteen and you will get the black, red or whatever color on the cotton. And this is the main reason why they cannot be put in the washing machine.

So, I started my search for velveteen that would not run, but on top of it, it needed to be virtually free of chemicals. It took me many months, but I finally managed to find a factory able to fix the color to a level 4-5 in the grade scale, the best level of the “color running” scale in textile. Color fixing usually requires a lot of chemicals, but this factory would be able to do it for me in a OEKO-TEX friendly manner, i.e. with minimum use of chemicals. Yes, it was WAYYYY much more expensive than fabrics used by our competitors, but it was exactly what we needed!

We still get the question ‘but, can I really wash this penguin bag in the washing machine?. Isn’t the black going to run into the white?”. The answer is No, and I bet you cannot prove me wrong on this one….

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