Hi, I’m Red and I’m a newbie wrapper with a lot of enthusiasm and a lot of questions. I debuted as a wrapper last July when I brought my newborn, tenderly cradled in a stretchy wrap, to a gathering of mums and babies. My first solo outing with my baby and my wrap, I arrived at the door, sighed with relief, and within seconds spotted a seasoned wrapper unfurling her toddler from a back carry. It was the most exquisite move, a gesture of graceful synchronicity with a flourished finale as the child twisted down her mother’s side and, on reaching the floor, peeped through the heap of woven fabric now gathered at her feet.
The mother that I observed has since become my wrap sling guru, fount of knowledge, and fellow fanatic. Through conversations with her I learnt of a keen community of wrappers, geographically dispersed but intimately connected through their love of wraps and carrying. A community that connects virtually to chat about their wrap experiences, that invents and shares new techniques, that even swaps wraps for the thrill of a new experience or the convenience of a holiday climate. I am still on the periphery, tentatively hovering at the entrance, but the passion that emanates from these wrappers has piqued my curiosity.
Last month‘s Magic Summer event was my first attempt at finding out more. I have to confess, I didn’t even know wrap conventions existed before then. I had no idea what to expect and, to be honest, I didn’t really understand what the event was all about. A load of wrap companies and wrap users gathering in a trendy location with sunshine, food and music. It had its appeal, but what exactly were they gathering for? I arrived feeling out of my depth, nervous of exposing my amateur skills and cautious of the keen beans whose entire style and identity appeared to be rooted in their wraps. Would I be classified an illegitimate wrapper if my hair didn’t match my wrap, or my outfit didn’t chime with my carrier? And – my greatest fear of all – would I be exposed as a country bumpkin posh tot wannabe wrapper?
Just as there is no set type of person who wraps, there is also no fixed way of wrapping, and no prescribed reason to wrap
As the event got under way I found a quiet corner and watched – people chatting with excitement, different brands sharing recent news, digital pen pals meeting in person, kindred spirits discovering each other amongst tables of assorted fabrics… and my fears dissipated. Fears founded on assumptions gradually vanished, and in their place grew a sense of admiration and appreciation. I realised that the community I had heard of, and was now meeting, was more diverse than I had anticipated – even I could fit in. I saw that, just as there is no set type of person who wraps, there is also no fixed way of wrapping, and no prescribed reason to wrap. There are those who like to plug into a community, and those who like to go solo; those for whom wraps are a collector’s item, proud owners of abundant libraries, and those whose love is exclusive, devoted to their one and only. I saw that the abundance of choice that had initially sent me into a dizzying frenzy – style, colour, fabric, length, brand… they all had their place, and with good reason. There are so many choices, none of them universally perfect and yet all of them valid, because ultimately the wrap experience is deeply personal, carefully balancing the needs and preferences of both mother and child, holding them tenderly, comfortably, and joyfully.
And so I came to understand the intrigue of wrap conventions, and the particular beauty of Magic Summer as a space to talk and taste, in person, what today’s wrap world has to offer.