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  • Writer's pictureJim Bessman

Aplat's sturdy culinary totes apply origami folding to zero-waste designs

Shujan Bertrand

Shujan Bertrand at NY NOW

Applying origami paper folding principles to fabric, Aplat founder Shujan Bertrand creates zero-waste designs from a single sheet of fabric, the results--culinary totes for food, wine, bread and garden—displayed at last month’s NY NOW trade show at the Javits Center.

“It’s all about folding,” said Bertrand at her exhibition booth.

“It allows you to create unique volume. A rectangle folded into the center allows you to handle aplat—or flat plate in French—or any casserole, pie or picnic dish on the handlebar of a bicycle. In fact, it’s the first tote that allows you to bike from the picnic or farmer’s market: It’s shallow and can be kept upright and horizontal, and the more you put in it the flatter and wider it gets—not deeper. So it won’t hit your leg when you pedal!”

Noting San Francisco-based Aplat’s “consciousness about material and production,” Bertrand says her totes are like “farm to table, but we’re farm to factory to table.” She explains that Aplat uses wholly organic cotton canvas, low impact dyeing methods and locally cut surplus denim in achieving “zero waste” of raw materials.

With everything folded, sewn and stitched, Aplat’s origami design also eliminates the need for hardware; the totes are further strengthened by straps sewn in load-bearing areas and reinforced with bartack stitches.

A longtime product and soft-goods designer for brands including Nike, Samsung and LG Electronics, Bertrand conceived Aplat while buying flowers for a friend at her neighborhood market and sensing an elegant gifting alternative for the store’s cellophane wrapper. She’s now co-branding with wineries like Longmeadow and Beringer, and partnering with chefs and cookbooks, like Athena Calderone’s forthcoming Cook Beautiful.



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