When he cut a hole through a sheet of canvas and turned it into a Cape, John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) was not trying to make a fashion statement – he was trying to keep himself warm. Stallone confessed on Instagram that he was merely seeking warmth in freezing Canadian temperatures, when he found an old piece of canvas and innovated by turning it into a poncho by slitting a hole in the canvas for the head and a rope for a belt.

Rambo in a canvas poncho


For centuries, us humans have prioritized utility and function above form. The Cape as a garment bears testament to this. A protective layer, a blanket that keeps you warm and dry – ponchos, capes or cloaks have all been a signature clothing item of many ancient farming, highland communities from South America to Asia as a protection against cold weather. But as utility moved to style, the Cape started to take on a different, more luxurious form. Heavier materials were replaced with velvet and silk, shapes changed and functional became fun.

Sometimes when our Capes are compared to blankets, we see that as a compliment, because the intention of our design is to go back to our roots to give form to function. Wraps have been used by our ancestors as protective layers for centuries – simple, functional, zero waste and made from natural materials sourced from their surrounding eco system. Why should it be any different now?

As a design-led brand that wants to stay true to its heritage of sustainability and craft preservation, we explored how we could turn functionality into something stylish while generating as little waste as possible. Like it was in the olden days.

Taking the blanket as a concept, our designer looked at how this piece of woven cloth could do the following:
1. Fit as many sizes as possible
2. Generate little or zero waste
3. Be multifunctional to enable reuse

A combination of armhole placement has been done in a way that allows one Cape to fit a range of sizes (XS up to XXL) without it looking too big or too small. Using a slit for the armholes so that there is no wastage from cutting; plus the use of colour blocks that create definition and shape but also a different look if worn long or short. It all comes together with our Capes. 

JULAHAS Cape Beyond Zero waste design


Our Cape Beyond is Stallone in style and with a belt. This natural, zero-waste garment again, stays true to our concept of doing more with less. Thinking about your garment like pieces of a puzzle or adding a clever cut as start of a transformative design process is something that we have always been excited about.

As we continue in our journey and create new designs to come up with more products, brands like ours will always be challenged to defy boundaries of conventional thinking to make functional also fun. 

February 19, 2021 — Kanak Hirani

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