It’s one of those ironic things in life: Egypt is known the world over for its top quality, luxury bed linens and famous extra-long staple cotton, so you would think the best place to splurge a little and buy them would be… Egypt, right? Well, yes, but it’s not as easy as you would think!
The truth of the matter is most of Egypt’s high-quality cotton is exported overseas, so the cotton used in regular everyday life here is usually the same cheap Chinese polyblend everyone else wears around the world. Despair not however, because it *is* possible to find the quality linens and cotton you’re looking for (and way more affordable than buying its exported equivalent), you just need to do a little hunting.
LOCAL TIP: if you’re in the market for good quality Egyptian linens or cotton, you WON’T find them in Khan el Khalili or other touristic souqs and markets. The vendors might tell you they are, but that is *very* debatable.
So where can you actually find great Egyptian linen and cotton products in Cairo? We got you:
Founded over 15 years ago by two Ecuadorians living in Egypt, Malaika Linens saw the lack of high-quality Egyptian bedding and home linens in the local market. They paired that with their background in design and embroidery to create some of the best locally-made linen and cotton beddings and homeware in Egypt. They established their own factory in 2009 to have total control over quality and craftsmanship, and recently opened an embroidery school to help underprivileged Egyptian women develop their skills and improve their economic standing.
Where you can find Malaika Linens: they have their own flagship shop in El Gouna, but also sell in different shops around Cairo and Alexandria. You can find a full list of where to buy them here.
For more info: Malaika Linens website
Looking for top-quality Egyptian bedding, towels, loungewear, beachwear or even super-soft items for your baby? Then Nillens is the way to go. They have an extensive product list, all of which use the highest 100% Egyptian materials and fabrics, including their famous cotton bedding. Their sheets range from 300 thread count percale to 800 thread count sateen, so you can choose depending on your taste. Some people prefer the lower TC (thread count) due to its being lighter and airier; others prefer the silkiness and density of higher thread counts. In either case, all bedding is made in Nillens with 100% long-staple Egyptian cotton.
Where you can find Nillens: they have 3 shops, in Zamalek, Degla (Maadi) and Sheikh Zayed (6 October City). You can find the shop details here, and you can also buy online.
For more info: Nillens website
Back in 2013, the founders of CottonBall also sensed a need in the local market; but their focus was on the lack of quality cotton basic apparel. They also wanted to focus on simplicity and comfort -- no big logos or distracting designs, just simple, quality Egyptian cotton pieces like t-shirts, tank tops and other daily staples, in an array of colors, sizes and cuts. The end result: a line of products that they call "Quality Necessities and Bare Apparel".
Where you can find CottonBall: you can shop online or visit their Zamalek store, on Ahmed Heshmat street next to Seoudi Market.
For more info: CottonBall website
Launched in 2012, Lilly Linen started off as a range of premium bedding, using famous Egyptian flax linen - duvets, bed sheets, quilts and more. They were such a hit that the brand started incorporating other collections, such as bathroom (towels etc), dining, and ‘Lillywear’ (loungewear, beachwear and nightwear). All collections focus on artisan-woven Egyptian cotton textiles.
Where you can find Lilly Linen: City Stars, Downtown Katameya, Mall of Arabia and Zizinia in Alexandria
For more info: Lilly Linen website
The oldest player in the game (or at least on this list), Mobaco Cottons has been in business since 1974, selling quality but affordable Egyptian cotton, linen, wool and other natural material clothes. Their t-shirts, polos and jeans are all comfortable and durable, and their stores have opened in almost every neighborhood in Cairo, plus other Egyptian cities (and they also have two stores in Paris!). They have a wide range of clothing and a juniors section as well.
Where to find Mobaco Cottons: you’ll find a list of their stores here.
For more info: Mobaco Cottons website
One of the leading luxury Egyptian home linens manufacturers since 1995, Heba Linens focuses on quality, embroidery and craftsmanship, and uses 100% long-staple Egyptian cotton. Their products range from bedding to towels, bath mats, dining linens, toiletry bags, robes and even custom pieces.
Where to find Heba Linens: City Stars, Designopolis, Zamalek, Intercontinental Semiramis Hotel, Four Seasons First Residence
For more info: Heba Linens Facebook page
If you’re in the market for super-soft, 100% organic Egyptian cotton items for your baby, look no further. Caico Cotton is based in Egypt and Denmark and focuses on making the softest and most comfortable baby basics. Not only is the material all natural, but they keep their colors as close to the natural color of cotton as well.
Where to find Caico Cotton: you can order from them online
For more info: Caico Cotton website