High Quality handbags telling indigenous stories. ETHNY.
What’s in a name?
The name ETHNY comes from the contraction between Ethic “moral principles that govern a person's behavior” and Ethnicity “state of belonging to a social group”.
Why High Quality?
It is well known that the fashion industry has long been over-producing. High quality products that you can love for your lifetime are a direct rebellion against overconsumption. Not to mention, at ETHNY we source our materials and labor in a way that cannot be hurried, helping indigenous people to thrive and starving out fast-fashion. Higher prices and longer lead times mean sustainable, improved living conditions for our supply chain partners.
Passing down cultural heritage is incredibly important to the people of Guatemala. Natives have needed to put indigenous cultural practices aside to make a living for their families and we don’t believe that is right. ETHNY provides employment for the locals by way of sourcing 95% of our supply chain in-country, as well as importing remaining items that are hard to find locally. This secures industry in their cultural practices and offers yet another reason to pass them down for many generations to come.
60% of Guatemala’s population is indigenous. Today they still face marginalization, as this discrimination gives them very little economic or social power. In fact, most of them still live in poverty with no access to health care or education.
Upon a trip to Guatemala by French born founder, Alexandrine Michelas, she fell in love with weavings and handicrafts made by guatemalan artisans including the incredibly bright, well-crafted, soul-moving huipil, traditional blouse, that lined the market streets. She wondered how people managing to make such great craft could be living in such poverty.
For our First collection, ETHNY is working with the Kiche people, who are descendants of the once great Mayan civilization and the Kiche language is one of the largest existing Mayan linguistic groups. Although they are still practicing hand-tilled farming of corn and other crops, thousands of years later, since the Kiche people haven’t had equal rights or representation since colonization of the country, their ability to pass down the cultural practices of their people is increasingly at-risk.
The Bags are Born.
ETHNY bags are the result of a collaboration between a sustainable, European avant-garde vision and the encouragement of rich cultural traditions from Guatemala.