Online communities can bridge nationalities and culture. They have their own lexicons, taboos, and beliefs. There are many online communities focused on babywearing, High End Babywearing is one that values carriers for their utility, as objects (even art), and their value. Carriers as investment pieces. Carriers as status symbols within their closed community.This interview was originally posted in Iowa City Babywearer’s blog, August 20th, 2015. Republished with permission of Kelsey Sandeno.
Today I interviewed Kelsey Sandeno about the world of High-End Babywearing. We discussed the distinctions between High End (HE), Highly Sought After (HSA), and Hard-To-Find (HTF) carriers, as well as some of the jargon found in High-End Babywearing communities.
What is High-End Babywearing?
High-End Babywearing (HE) is pretty much what it sounds like: more expensive carriers. People normally spend fifty to a hundred to a few hundred dollars on carriers. In High-End Babywearing people are spending, you know, five hundred up to a thousand– or thousands– of dollars on a single big-name item.
What kinds of carriers are involved in HE Babywearing?
Mostly wraps and when you get into the whole wrap-thing you get wrap conversions (WC). Obviously when you get a high-end wrap and have it made into a conversion, it makes the conversion even more high-end, because you’re spending money on the conversion too. Ring slings, less so, unless they are made from a high-end wrap. Pouches I have seen made from handwoven fabric– like leftover bits of handwoven wraps. But for the most part: wraps.
What makes the High-End Carriers different from other carriers? Is there a difference in the manufacturing process, materials, etc.?
It varies– some wraps are high end because they use high-end fiber, first thing that comes to mind are Kokoro Ren which are made with tsumugi silk, which is the silk that is used to make kimonos. Other fibers include Egyptian cotton, organic sea-island cotton, other silks, or ethically sourced merino wool, which more costly than other wools. So there are the fibers that make a carrier high-end. Then there are the weaves: if you consider Pavo wraps, which have very intricate weave patterns rather than just basic straight weave, or jacquard. The more intricate weave patterns requires them to have to have a good relationship with the mills, for one wrap they had to build a loom in the mill.