Delhi-based fashion designer aims to make world’s largest cloth mask

Delhi-based fashion designer Manish Tripathi and his team of “more than 50, including technical persons, designers, tailors, communications leaders and stylists,” have revved up for his ‘Sheher Se Gaon Tak’ initiative. Tripathi aims to make the world’s largest cloth mask, with 100sqm of fabric.

The fashion designer at work
The fashion designer at work

“The current record, reports say, stands in the name of Saudi Arabia (Jeddah) where a cloth mask of 72 sqm was made some time in August, we hope to go one better with 100 sqm,” said Tripathi. The team added that they are attempting a world record but, “this is so much more than numbers, or records.” Today morning, Tripathi, joined by a few others and a camera crew, will leave Delhi on a 20-day road journey, to at least 10 states sourcing fabric from women workers, to put the mask together. The fabrics will be sourced for a payment.

Participants in the Shehar Se Gaon Tak initiative
Participants in the Shehar Se Gaon Tak initiative

From the classily subtle chikankari of Lucknow, to the balle balle vibe of Phulkari in Punjab, the dazzling talent of the Madhubani experts of Bihar, the uber chic Ajrakh of Rajasthan, the stolidly traditional Paithani of Maharashtra, the mask is envisioned as a window to a kaleidoscope of cultures. “That is why we said it is not just an attempt at a world record. This is about showcasing Indian crafts with the thread of hope and new beginnings. It is about sunshine in an overall gloomy time,” said Tripathi.

Also Read: This time it’s quirky masks that caught Anand Mahindra’s attention

India Gate
The roadmap for the mask begins today, with the journey for fabric collection. On December 20, all the fabrics are going to be sewn together for the mask at his New Delhi facility. On December 25, the mask will be put on a hot-air balloon at India Gate, “where we aim to have our president Ram Nath Kovindji launch the mask as we attempt to set a Guinness World Record,” said Tripathi, adding that they have made an application for officials to be present as per protocol for validation of the world record. An air charter company will arrange the massive hot-air balloon for the mask.

Women’s empowerment
Anushka Sikka, team member of ‘Sheher Se Gaon Tak’ project emphasised, “This initiative is focussed on unity and women’s empowerment. We have been working with women from different villages across India during the lockdown, harnessing their skill to make masks, also roped them into apparel making. It is about giving them a lifeline, not just temporary help during the pandemic.” Sikka, who has a Masters in Fashion Management from NIFT, Delhi added, “There is palpable excitement even amid the last minute frenzy of setting off, covering at least 10,000 km on this road trip. Then, of course, the action will move back to New Delhi where we have four days to stitch the mask.”

Emotional support
Tripathi added that a camera crew will document the journey. “We have some sponsors, some

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Why reusable cloth could consign Christmas gift wrap to the bin

Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without mountains of glittery wrapping paper covering the floor on 25 December. Or would it?

A rise in interest in crafting, coupled with a greater awareness of the environment under lockdown, has led to a surge in interest in furoshiki – the Japanese art of fabric wrapping – this year.

Furoshiki are traditional Japanese cloths used to transport food, clothes or gifts. Both attractive and reusable, they are increasingly being embraced by shoppers as a sustainable alternative to paper.

Over the past three months the website Etsy has seen a 41% year-on-year rise in searches for fabric gift wrap, while searches for eco-friendly wrapping are up by 78%.

Related: John Lewis Christmas ad stars children, snowmen and hip-hop pigeons

Cosmetics retailer Lush sells a wide range of furoshiki-inspired wraps, while they are also available at retailers such as Oliver Bonas and Toast, which this year introduced a set of furoshiki table gifts as an alternative to Christmas crackers. Later this week, John Lewis will host an online furoshiki workshop.

The cloths are easy to use: gifts are placed in the centre of the fabric, which is then tucked around the object and fastened with a knot.

Gallery: Jennifer Garner’s Beauty Essentials (ELLE (UK))

“Because fabric is so much more malleable than wrapping paper, it can be used to make even the most awkward-shaped gifts look professionally wrapped,” says Sarah Carter, founder of Folds, a Bristol-based company that sells reusable organic cotton and certified linen gift wrap. “We usually finish our wrapping by tucking in some dried flowers or a sprig of holly,” she adds.



A 2018 furoshiki press event in Paris. Photograph: Kristy Sparow/Getty


© Provided by The Guardian
A 2018 furoshiki press event in Paris. Photograph: Kristy Sparow/Getty

Folds has always been popular in the festive season, but this year Carter noticed a surge in orders in the spring and summer months. She attributes this to an increase in climate change awareness prompted by Covid-19. “The pandemic has brought the environment into a new focus for people, causing us all to make more environmentally conscious decisions around what we buy.”

Part of the appeal of fabric wrapping is that it is a present in itself. “The receiver can not only enjoy a beautifully wrapped gift but can then reuse the cloth to give a gift of their own,” says Judith Harris, head of house and home at Toast.

Carter says some customers use their cloth within family or friendship circles, so that it eventually makes its way back to them. “There’s a certain magic and tradition in passing it from person to person,” she says.

Related: Anger on the British high street as festive cheer turns to fear for small shops

Then there’s the growing interest in craft. A recent report by the Crafts Council found that our passion for artisan objects is greater than ever. Fabric wrapping is often handmade and it arguably offers more scope for creativity than standard wrapping paper, thanks to the chance to experiment with different folding techniques and the

Read more

Why reusable cloth could consign Christmas gift wrap to the bin | Christmas

Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without mountains of glittery wrapping paper covering the floor on 25 December. Or would it?

A rise in interest in crafting, coupled with a greater awareness of the environment under lockdown, has led to a surge in interest in furoshiki – the Japanese art of fabric wrapping – this year.

Furoshiki are traditional Japanese cloths used to transport food, clothes or gifts. Both attractive and reusable, they are increasingly being embraced by shoppers as a sustainable alternative to paper.

Over the past three months the website Etsy has seen a 41% year-on-year rise in searches for fabric gift wrap, while searches for eco-friendly wrapping are up by 78%.

Cosmetics retailer Lush sells a wide range of furoshiki-inspired wraps, while they are also available at retailers such as Oliver Bonas and Toast, which this year introduced a set of furoshiki table gifts as an alternative to Christmas crackers. Later this week, John Lewis will host an online furoshiki workshop.

The cloths are easy to use: gifts are placed in the centre of the fabric, which is then tucked around the object and fastened with a knot.

“Because fabric is so much more malleable than wrapping paper, it can be used to make even the most awkward-shaped gifts look professionally wrapped,” says Sarah Carter, founder of Folds, a Bristol-based company that sells reusable organic cotton and certified linen gift wrap. “We usually finish our wrapping by tucking in some dried flowers or a sprig of holly,” she adds.

A 2018 furoshiki press event in Paris, folded fabrics hanging from walls and ceiling of decorative walkway.
A 2018 furoshiki press event in Paris. Photograph: Kristy Sparow/Getty

Folds has always been popular in the festive season, but this year Carter noticed a surge in orders in the spring and summer months. She attributes this to an increase in climate change awareness prompted by Covid-19. “The pandemic has brought the environment into a new focus for people, causing us all to make more environmentally conscious decisions around what we buy.”

Part of the appeal of fabric wrapping is that it is a present in itself. “The receiver can not only enjoy a beautifully wrapped gift but can then reuse the cloth to give a gift of their own,” says Judith Harris, head of house and home at Toast.

Carter says some customers use their cloth within family or friendship circles, so that it eventually makes its way back to them. “There’s a certain magic and tradition in passing it from person to person,” she says.

Then there’s the growing interest in craft. A recent report by the Crafts Council found that our passion for artisan objects is greater than ever. Fabric wrapping is often handmade and it arguably offers more scope for creativity than standard wrapping paper, thanks to the chance to experiment with different folding techniques and the way it lends itself to botanical adornment. “There is a huge appetite for people wanting to learn new craft skills and perhaps create their own gifts for friends and family,” says Harris.

The practice of using furoshiki became widespread

Read more