Buying your first woven wrap – deciding what to buy – can often be the most intimating part of wrapping. There is a startling array of different brands, blends and designs. It can be terrifying to work out where to start! ‘Woven FAQ’ is my attempt to answer some of the questions I am asked the most by people buying their 1st wrap, and to cover the most important points to consider.
Next up in the series is:
What brand(s) do you recommend?
In a way this is the hardest question to answer because there are so many great brands out there. Literally loads, and if I tried to make a complete list I worry it would confuse more people than it would help! Instead, I have stuck to great brands which are easily accessible. Easily accessible in that a) its easy to get hold of their wraps in the UK, b) there are always wraps in stock and c) that they are common place enough that your local library or sling meet etc are likely to have an example or two for you to try to get an idea before you buy. Finally, hopefully, accessible in budget too.
Budget is always the most contentious point! It can seem like a large outlay for what is essentially a long length of fabric, but when it comes to wraps there is an element of "you get what you pay for". There is a clear difference between wraps around the £100 mark and those around the £40-£50 mark in terms of quality and ease of wrapping with. I say an element of you get what you pay for because there are option that are way more and really once you go over £150, it is hard to say that you're actually getting any more for your money at that point.
However, if those prices scare you, there are some real deals to be had on the second hand market. In fact, while I am the sort of person who normally prefers to buy new... wraps are my one exception. Generally wraps will last a long time and actually get softer and easier to wrap with with use - this process is called 'breaking in'. From new many wraps can be quite stiff and feel a bit like cardboard but soften with washing and wear. While some people love this breaking in process, I for one am completely lazy. I'd rather fast forward to the bit where the wrap feels really lovely and is really easy to use and not go through all the hard work of breaking it in myself! For this reason I massively prefer to either buy wraps second hand that have already been broken in for me or to buy new wraps that already come soft and require very little or no breaking in. If you are buying new, how easy your new wrap will be to break in is definitely something worth considering! But if your happy to buy second hand you can find some real deals and expect to pay only 50-60% of the new price for a really great quality wrap that will be lovely and soft and still have tonnes and tonnes of life left in it.
It's also worth noting that as well as catering to different budgets, different brands have different aesthetics. So its worth looking at a few to find one that matches up with your personal style. Because, simply put, if you love it you'll wear it. So more than anything, choose something that you really love.
So, below are the brands I recommend as a starting point for someone buying their first wrap. Prices quoted are that for a basic size 6 cotton wrap. The price will of course vary depending on what size wrap you are after and expect to pay a little more for thicker weave wraps and/or different fibre blends. Also note these prices are based on buying new, so if are going for a second hand wrap feel free to use this as a guide to help you judge if your getting a good deal etc!
- Didymos - £90-130. Didymos are #1 on my list for a reason - they are a family run business that have been making wraps since 1972 and really know what they're doing. Plus they have a staggering range of different weaves and styles. There's literally something from everyone. While their standard stripes are a little harder work to break in, their Jacquard wraps are utterly gorgeous and usually break in and become absolutely lovely really fast. In particular if your buying for a new baby take a look at their Double Face range and their Lisca range as these are normally lusciously soft right out of the box. But really any of their Prima's, Ada's or limited edition Jacquard weaves soften up pretty quickly and are mighty fine wraps.
- Girasol - £80-95. Girasol are renowned for their beautiful stripey wraps. Stripes definitely help flatten the learning curve, and in particular Girasol stripes are brilliant because they are beautiful but also their wraps are really easy to care for - easy to wash, not prone to pulls or snags and are absolutely brilliant newborn all the way to preschoolers and beyond because they are thin yet supportive. All their wraps are handwoven in Guatemala by local artisans, Girasol are big believers in fair trade and have been making wraps since 1981. While these cotton wraps do usually start of a bit stiff they do go really floppy and soft with a few washes and use.
- Firespiral ~ £150. British made, mum made... designed and made entirely in the North of England, these wraps are just lovely. Luxurious, beautiful, and softer than a kitten belly. Firespiral have the knack of making wraps that can practically wrap themselves! They are so soft they are lovely for the tiniest of newborns but still strong enough and supportive enough to carry preschoolers and beyond. Yes they are more expensive than others listed here, and they are a little pull prone, but I do think they really worth it. Plus if you are totally new to wrapping Firespiral do run their excellent Fledgling scheme aimed at reducing the learning curve and price hurdle of purchasing your first woven.
- Oscha ~ £150-200. Made in Scotland, Oscha are a known for their absolutely glorious elegant designs and colourways. They make truly visually stunning wraps, which are all woven in the British Isles and finished in their solar powered workshop in Scotland. They pride themselves on sourcing only the most ethically and sustainably sourced materials and being completely carbon neutral and planting a tree with every wrap sold as part of a re-forestation program. Their ethics are as simply wonderful as their designs. Definitely not the cheapest on this list, and definitely one of the brands that needs a little bit more breaking in (mainly because most of their wraps are on the slightly thicker side, so takes them a little longer to get soft), Oscha wraps are definitely hard wearing, completely beautiful and of a very high quality.
If buying second hand and looking for a bargain I'd also take a look at Hoppediz, Storchenweige, Lenny Lamb and Joy and Joe. These are all lovely once broken in and not budget busting and while maybe not my first choice from brand new as they can come a little stiffer ... they can all be great once broken in.