Wrapt is made up of founder/owner Hannelie Bekker and two multi-skilled garment producers, Anna Setloboko and Felicity Mhlanga. When we need additional resources we reach out to freelance seamstresses and knitters from the community around Victoria Yards.
I have always loved textiles. Even though I didn't take to sewing as a child I loved going to Arthur Bales in Linden, Johannesburg with my mom and sisters to look for fabric and/or patterns for some or other outfit. It's here, as well as next to my mom's sewing machine, that I learnt the evocative language - though in Afrikaans - of selvedges and darts, gathers and pleats, bias and grain.
My first career could not be further removed from this world, though: I built and managed TV channels for 27 years before starting a knitwear business! The decision was triggered by an acute sense of an interesting market gap.
Despite producing merino wool, mohair and cotton, South Africa has a curious dearth of knitwear designers or suppliers. Maybe we still associate "knitting" with the bulky unfashionables of the seventies and eighties - missing the riotous colours and textures that abound on the world's runways every year, and forgetting about the possibilities of linen tank tops, and featherweight silk wraps and airy, breathable woollen layers.
Even since starting Wrapt in 2018 we've seen some shifts, with more local designers incorporating knits in their collections. Additionally one of the interesting outcomes of the COVID pandemic and its influence on our lifestyles has been a new appreciation of knitwear - especially knitted co-ords - and its ability to look good while being suberbly comfortable, so here, too, we find ourselves in an interesting space.
Lastly, we believe that what we are doing at Wrapt plays a small part in building our beloved country. Textile work is labour intensive, and has low entry requirements - and yet, exposure to a textile based business opens up a multitude of careers to quick learners.
With a Psychology degree Anna is surprised on a daily basis to find herself making garments.
Apart from knitting and making up garments she also handles dispatch of orders to our customers.
Felicity (or Feli) holds an HR qualification. Like Anna she never imagined spending her days wrangling knitting machines, but enjoys the satisfaction of making beautiful things every day.
Feli's superpower is that she fits into practically any size, so she is much in demand as a fit model. The rest of us have no idea how she does it.
Currently she is mastering operation of the industrial knitting machines. They are temperamental beasts, so this is no small thing!