This Deepavali, put a little thought in not just the gift but also what you pack it in. Say hello to zero waste gift wraps
Pardon the drama, but there is something immensely heartbreaking about ripping a gorgeous gift wrapper. It’s worse when it ends up in the waste bin, especially after the gifter has shelled out a fair amount for it. With Deepavali around the corner, here is how you can make sure that your wrap is appreciated and cherished for as long as the gift. Say hello to zero waste gift wraps.
Furoshiki, the age-old Japanese technique of wrapping presents in reusable cloth, is steadily gaining steam world over. The hashtag ‘#furoshiki’ has more than 81,000 posts on Instagram with old experts and new enthusiasts of this practical yet beautiful practice sharing their techniques. It is chic, ecofriendly and for keeps.
“A lot of my Japanese clients gave me gifts packed in Furoshiki wraps and I was fascinated by them,” says Chennai-based Neesha Amrish, designer and founder of label Aeshaane. A crusader of all things organic, she had been experimenting with this technique for the last two years and finally launched a line of Furoshiki-inspired gift wraps in March this year. “In Japan, this has been used as a way to bundle clothes at public baths, and now with a contemporary spin it’s used to wrap wine bottles, candles, books and boxes,” she says.
Furoshiki wraps are made of fabric. Neesha makes them both in cotton (₹1,200 – ₹1,500) and silk (₹3,000-₹4,000), with Nature-inspired and geometric prints. Since there are numerous ways to pack them, these wraps are accompanied by a step-by-step illustration and sizing guide.
After its primary role is fulfilled, it can transition into a host of things — right from scarf to hair band and accessory for bags. “I make them in three sizes — 40 by 40 centimetre, 60 by 60 cm and 90 by 90 cm. I sell them in sets of two and clients can choose the sizes they want,” says Neesha.
With the festive season here, queries have been pouring in not just from the city but also from far flung European countries (around 34 orders for Deepavali and around 50 for Christmas).
“It is a versatile and environment-friendly alternative to paper and plastic wrapping. And a wrapper this gorgeous deserves to be saved!” she says.
Thought that counts
Furoshiki is also a hit with Priyanjoli Basu and Dominique Lopez who launched Oh Scrap! Madras last year. Propelled by queries on reusable alternatives to plastic and paper, the duo launched the Art of Thoughtful Gift Wrapping and Packaging recently. “It is the result of our common concern for the planet and the belief that if more people embark on a sustainable journey, the positive impact will be exponential,” says Priyanjoli.
It is all very simple. The team at Oh Scrap! wants you to put a little thought into what you give people and make sure it is not wasteful, even if it is the packaging. “There is already so much waste from plastic gift wrap. According to various sources online, nearly four million tonnes of wrapping paper and shopping bags end up in the trash every year in the US alone,” says Priyanjoli.
As part of their new project, Priyanjoli and Dominique have launched three sets of ecofriendly gift wrapping solutions. The first is a set of Furoshiki wraps. These are square fabrics in double layers and look like potli bags with knots. There are also brooches in shapes of origami flowers that can be used to enhance the visual appeal. Everything is made of cotton and cotton silk.
The second offers twine made of cotton and silk. These can jazz up gifts packed in plain brown paper or newspaper. “This too comes with a selection of brooches in the shapes of butterflies, birds and flowers. And the third set is a mix of the first two,” says Priyanjoli. With this, the idea is to introduce DIY with reusable materials.
With love, by hand
Amruta Walvekar, founder of Pune-based Wrapistry (a gift wrapping and stationery company), is currently working on an order of gift sets that includes handmade papers and cards, a paint brush and paint that goes with a personalised message to encourage people to take up a hobby during this pandemic.
While there is an emphasis on handmade and self made things created out of sustainable materials, there are also those who feel ecofriendly doesn’t necessarily translate to fun.
“On the contrary, eco friendly wraps are anything but boring,” states Amruta who loves muted tones and minimal accessories when it comes to making a gift wrap look fabulous. To further support this, Amruta has over the months posted a bunch of videos on her social media pages that use simple everyday objects to create exquisite gift wraps.
“You could use kitchen rolls to make flowers. In the past, I have used newspaper, brown paper, recycled paper/ thread/ burlap string, left over tape ring and leaves to make gift wraps,” she says, adding, “And it can be just any leaf.” Going by her works, there is so much one can do with fresh foliage, basic paper and a little creativity.