Jennifer Playford began her career as a children’s book designer 25 years ago, and her love for colours and the environment led her to launching her own fabric gift wrap line in 2007. It was called “Furochic,” and took inspiration from the traditional Japanese wrapping cloth Furoshiki. The line was a means for her to showcase her bold illustrations in an eco-friendly way, and in the same year, she published a book Wrapagami, sharing the art of fabric gift wrap.

Wrap design “Bloom” | Photo: Carla Unger

Playford says that back then, Canadians weren’t ready to make the switch from paper to fabric gift wrap. But with growing consciousness around sustainability, she decided to re-launch the line this year. New technology has also made the process easier. The digital printing technique has opened doors for Jennifer to experiment with designs. 

“Before, I was limited—I had to do many [wraps], like thousands for a minimum order,” says Playford, “but now, the technology is really exciting because it allows you more variety in design, and not as many in quantity.” The relaunch includes eight floral designs, two of which are holiday-themed.

Jennifer Playford
Jennifer Playford | Photo: Carla Unger

Playford says that cost-efficiency, waste reduction, and making her products lightweight are the most important factors for her when designing her wraps. Since the product is fabric, there’s no need to bubble-wrap it, and the packaging is intended to be repurposed—the piece of cardboard that is wrapped around the product is meant to be used as a gift tag. “You can write a note at the back, punch a little hole, and get a piece of string,” she explains, “so you can attach a gift tag and reuse the packaging.”

Wrap design “Poppy” | Photo: Carla Unger

All wraps are 27-inch squares in size, which is the standard for traditional Furoshiki cloth. Playford is especially mindful of the corners of her designs. The edges of the wrap stick out with a beautiful pattern when tied into a knot. The wrap, as the designer puts it, is a gift in itself.

“Whenever there’s a birthday, you might get the wrap back,” she says. “My idea is: it just goes back and forth between family and friends, and it gets used over and over again.”