by Arun Nair

Why you shouldn’t worry about GSM in Fabric

I often get asked by customers- Can you tell me what the gsm of this T-Shirt is ? If I had a rupee for every time I’ve heard this question, I’d probably own a bitcoin by now (I don’t, so maybe it’s not that often). The point being, we get asked this a lot. 

To break down “GSM”, in simple words it basically suggests the grams per square meter of fabric. If I were being more complicated - It’s a term used by customers to show us that they know what they’re talking about so they can cut a better deal. 

So what exactly does this mean for a customer purchasing clothing ? Well to be honest, not much really. We are often made to believe that GSM and quality are metrics that are directly proportional to one another, however this is far from the truth. 

Higher the GSM of cloth does not translate to “Higher the quality of that cloth” and vice versa. Let’s assume that we weren’t talking about fabric but a nice sumptuous “Dosa”. Now would you relate a really thick dosa to a better dosa ? No, right ? (I’m hoping you say no). A really thick dosa would be classified as a set dosa. The same applies to fabric, a really thick T-Shirt is nothing but perhaps a light sweatshirt.  So the theory of connecting GSM with quality is quite flawed. 

We actually get this a lot from colleges and start ups. A lot of people would call in / visit the office and compare our products to those of competitors. The first question was always - So what’s the GSM of this fabric ? Now does this person understand what GSM means ? Absolutely not ! Hearing this from another source has leveraged their mental capabilities to believe that they have a technical edge over us. I’ve so often been tempted to reply with - Do you want GSM means ? (I think I've probably spoken this out loud a few times too). Rest assured, not once have I received a proper response in the past 9 years. 

So now that we’ve ascertained that the obsession is assigned to sourcing a higher GSM without giving heed to what it means, let’s actually break down what the ideal GSM (For india) should be:

Round Neck T-Shirt / Crop Top - 160 to 180 GSM. We live in a country where most of our weather is dictated by a hot ball of fire. You certainly don’t want to be clad in anything thicker than this when wearing something casual. Also, this GSM range is perfect to achieve high grade printing. 

Polo T-shirt - 200 to 240 GSM. The reason the range here is larger is because the fabric is perforated and sits differently on the body at a lower and higher scale. Personally, I’m a huge fan of the 200 GSM but I do understand people who’d opt for a higher 240 GSM only because this sits better on their shoulders.

Sweatshirt / Varsity Jacket / Hoodie - 280 to 320 GSM. Here the logic is simple and reasonably more open to debate. Everyone has their own idea of how fashionable or warm they want to feel wearing this. Hence, I'll tread carefully.

A noteworthy point here is that some of the top brands that we know of, always use a thinner GSM as opposed to one that’s heavier. What we should obsess over (Way more than GSM) are factors like:

  • Quality of Yarn

  • Thread Count

  • Pre Processed Washes

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