The Fouta from Allia Design & Cultures

Meet the fouta
fouta allia design cultures
Courtesy: Allia Designs & Cultures

Do you know what a fouta is? Don’t worry, I had no clue either. That was until I was face to face with a booth covered with them! And this is how I met and ended up having an awesome chat with François and Laurence Sailly. (They are the co-founders of Allia Design & Cultures, a Montreal-based store that specializes in decoration, gifts and North African crafts and food.) All this happened at the Outdoor Adventure Show, back in April.

François and Laurence were a delight to chat with and they introduced me to this surprising product: the fouta. I have been conducting tests this summer with my fouta and I am so glad I get to share this with you as scarf season arrives… Because your fouta will stick with you all through the year, from beach days to cold winter days, if you only take the time to realize how endless the possibilities are!

What the f… fouta?

A fouta (sometimes “foutah”) is a woven towel, typically from Mediterranean countries (Tunisia, Turkey, etc.). It is usually made of cotton or linen. Traditionally, it is used in Turkish baths as a towel/body wrap. It is also used as a part of everyday clothing in some countries, or as a “lounging outfit”.
(Nothing to do with the region of Guinea called Fouta-Toro or the Fouta-Djalon region of Senegal…)

The foutas available at Allia are made in Tunisia, the original country where this “garment” comes from. The best part? I had NO CLUE this was usable as a towel! It looked more like a huge shawl or scarf, or even a sarong. (Their website – see details below – has a whole section dedicated to foutas…)

fouta allia design culturesNow… why should I drop the travel towel for a fouta? Well… Because you can do many things with it! So much more than just drying yourself at the beach or after a shower! It can double up as a scarf or shawl. Better: you can even roll it and use it as a pillow on the plane/train, or any long commutes.

The Fouta used for the test has a texture that is really soft to the touch. Soft enough to be worn around your neck and brush against the delicate skin of your face and neck. On the other hand, its thick weaving makes it a tough cloth that can sustain the tough backpacker lifestyle.

Size does matter

At 37½ x 77″ (95 x 195 cm), the largest size was large enough to cover me appropriately without leaving a large side on the gap or being too short. (In a nutshell, it’s big enough for a proper wrapping around AND long enough too!) That is one MAJOR argument in favor of the fouta (vs. the traditional compact travel towel, often too small for our plus-size bodies).

Sadly, the weather got so cold rapidly in Montreal that I didn’t get to give my fouta a proper summer, beach photo shoot. I will try to fix that once I hit the Black Sea, in Bulgaria… (More to come on Instagram!)


fouta allia design culturesPrice: $ 40-50 CAD ($ 32 US / € 27)
Fabric: 100 % Cotton (for this specific model)
Color: Cream & Black on the picture – many different prints and color available
Sizes available: 37½ x 77″(95 x 195 cm) for the one I tested, which seems to be the largest model available
Cleaning & Care: Delicate machine wash (or hand wash) with lukewarm water; line-dry (no dryer)


-Compact item
-Versatile (it’s not just a towel; it’s a blanket, shawl/scarf, sarong/skirt, headscarf, and the list goes on…)
-The flat weaving contributes to a quick drying, which reduces the risk of a foul, moldy-moist smell building up

fouta allia design cultures
Courtesy: Allia Designs & Cultures

Yes please! I’m even considering ditching my travel towel now (since it’s not “performing” better than a fouta and is clearly not as multi-purpose)! For equal features, I vote for versatility! It will be a great addition to my Bulgaria luggage… Especially since I have some beach time on the schedule! So, yes, the fouta has the Plus-Size Backpacker‘s full approval!

(And a big thank you to François & Laurence who made that post possible and introduced me to such an interesting new product!)

fouta allia design culturesAllia Designs & Cultures

1987 Wellington, Montreal, QC
Tel.: 438-382-1635
Facebook : @souvenirsdevoyage

Rendez-vous sur Hellocoton !

2 thoughts on “The Fouta from Allia Design & Cultures

  • September 6, 2017 at 2:21 pm

    I just took mine on a road trip to the Rockies! I wore it as a bathing suit cover up/towel it was perfect! Someone complimented me on my dress!
    It even dried super quick despite the humidity!
    Love it!!

    • September 6, 2017 at 5:23 pm

      Yay! Glad to see I am not alone in this! 😉


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: