When it comes to dress shirts, the fabric is typically made from 100% natural fibers such as cotton and or linen, or some blend. Cotton is king, and is the dominant material used to manufacture shirting fabric. Amongst cotton Egyptian and Sea Island cotton are typically considered to be the best, but Giza 45 is the very best.
Yet not all Egyptian cotton is the same. In particular Giza 45 and Giza 87 are the highest graded cotton fibers, with Giza 45 being rated higher than Giza 87. These fibers are the thinnest, longest, and strongest, which then produces a very smooth fabric with a silky look and feel. Giza 45 is best among its Giza counterparts (which include Giza 86, Giza 87, Giza 88, Giza 89, and Giza 90). Giza 45 is rated at 2.95 micronaire (a uniformity index rating). The Giza 45 fabric is also very strong and has a high breaking resistance of 44.3 g/tex.
The Best Cotton Earth
The cotton is planted in the end of the month of March when the temperature is mild, which allows the lower branches of the cotton plant to grow, and prevents the cotton balls from being scorched or burned by the intense Egyptian sun. In July and August, the cotton fibre itself forms.
Known as the "The Queen" of Egyptian cotton it was first cultivated in 1820 by Egypt's then ruler Mohammed Ali Pasha. Ali Pasha had imported Brazilian and West Indian Sea Island cotton seeds to grow the best cotton in Egypt. Combined with Egypt's unique climate properties, with the best seeds, the best cotton in the world was able to form.
Today Giza 45 is grown in a very small area to the east of the Nile delta. It represents 0.4% of Egypt's total annual cotton production.
Due to the uniqueness of Giza 45 the fabric is harvested exclusively by hand, to ensure that the cotton is preserved. Since it is considered to be the world's finest cotton, picking by machines and blades may damage it. It is also picked by hand to ensure it is fully mature, which is done by sight. Once picked, it is sifted using the "farfara" method to exclude any irregularities.
Giza 45 cotton is grown in a relatively small part of the world, and typically is 5x as expensive as Egyptian cotton prior to it even being woven.
Giza 45 Shirts?
It is more common to find bedding made from Giza 45 online, although some shirting fabrics are also made. Thomas Mason and David & John Anderson, of the Albini Group, produces a wide range of beautiful fabrics for shirts made from Giza 45.
Neronote, offers a wide fabric range, where one can choose Giza 45, or 87, amongst other fabric choices for its MTM shirts.
The Treasure of Egyptian Cotton