Behind the ESSENTIAL T-Shirt: Why Bamboo & Organic Cotton


I am excited to share with you the launch of our ESSENTIAL T-Shirt, a design that lives up to ICANCHU’s supernatural philosophy. Made from 70% Bamboo + 30% Organic Cotton, our ESSENTIAL Ts are silky smooth but able and willing to get down and dirty. We believe it is the best t-shirt you will own.

As I wrote about previously, it is important to understand why we choose the materials that we use. Which means it is important for me to clearly communicate what the big deal is about bamboo and organic cotton.

Below is the rationale and thought process used which led to the launch of the ESSENTIAL T-Shirt, guaranteed to be your new favorite shirt.

Why Organic Bamboo?

At the most basic level, bamboo is a grass; as a result, bamboo grows like a weed, without any help (or need for) pesticides or insecticides. Bamboo is also the fastest growing plant on the planet, able to grow up to three feet in a day.  Furthermore, bamboo yields the same volume as cotton from 10% of the land area. And it is able to do all of this on rain water alone, meaning there is no need for an inefficient irrigation set up. 

So greater yield with less required water. Seems simple enough. And I haven’t even gotten to the good stuff yet!

When it comes to performance, bamboo is one of the highest performing supernatural fabrics available. The versatility of the ESSENTIAL T means you can comfortably wear it to the bar as easily as to the gym. 

When working out in the ESSENTIAL T, the bamboo fabric absorbs moisture away from your skin, helping to keep you drier. And because bacteria does not live well in this fabric, our ESSENTIAL T doesn’t stink even after a couple days of wear. So you can confidently wear it in the gym, stink-free (while at the same time reducing the amount of water necessary for washing). 

Bamboo also comes “equipped” with natural UV protection and thermal control, thanks to its hollow microfiber design which means it is warm when you need it, yet also breathable.

It’s pretty hi-tech for a natural material.

Why Organic Cotton?

“Conventional cotton” is responsible for using 10% of the world’s pesticides and 25% of the world’s insecticides. Translation: “growing conventional cotton requires tons (literally) of nasty chemicals.” We are talking about chemicals developed as toxic nerve agents in WWII, chemicals with direct links to birth defects, cancer and lower sperm counts in men. Not cool.

But once you get past the chemical use, you also have to wrestle with the amount water needed to grow conventional cotton. Growers have to use 106,000 cubic feet of water per acre. That “feels” like a big number so to put it into more concrete terms, that is the equivalent of ~793,000 gallons of water. If you take an Olympic pool and add another 132,000 gallons, you will have enough water. For one single acre. Multiply that out over the millions upon millions of acres used for conventional cotton and it is scary how much water is required (and wasted).

Now compare the above to organic cotton, which does not use pesticides, but also uses an incredibly less amount of water. Per one acre of organic cotton growth, 3,000 cubic meters is required (vs. the 106,000 of conventional cotton); it is also worth noting that most organic cotton is rain-fed vs. irrigated, which further helps save precious H2O resources.

Why is this the case with organic cotton? The basic answer is that it is because organic cotton is a rotation crop. By rotating crops, growers are able to ensure that the soil maintains its nutrients, which leads to the soil also being able to better hold water. For conventional cotton growers, the cotton is usually the only crop that is planted. The results: depleted soil which equals no holding ability which requires more water for less efficient watering.

This is why I am so excited about our new tee. Thoughtfully designed to be incredibly versatile and amazingly comfortable, the ESSENTIAL T-Shirt is a staple for any guy’s closet.

Good Design + Good Materials = Your New Favorite Shirt.

Pick one up today.