While so-called "ethnic" and "tribal" prints rule the runways during fashion weeks in New York and now London, Ethnotek showcases another look at cultural appropriation.
Ethnotek creates high-quality bags with substance and meaning. Those behind the brand wish to spread cultural awareness through functional backpacks that embody a sense of relevancy in a world of dilution and ignorance.
The name "Ethnotek" itself is a portmanteau fusing "ethnology" and "technology," creating an ambitious meaning touching on the anthropological study of cultures, as well as finding practical solutions to contemporary social problems.
Ethnotek's textiles are sourced from artisans in-person through direct trade fabric. According to their website, Ethnotek "scour[s] the earth in search of the most vibrant and interesting hand-made fabrics that have a deep cultural heritage and story behind them." Aside from the ability to create meaningful relationships, direct fabric trade allows for a transparency that would not have otherwise have been possible. Outsourcing often creates, if not ignorance, then confusion surrounding the working conditions of employees in the Majority World. Furthermore, by avoiding a middleperson, the artisans offer Ethnotek a price that they set themselves, allowing for exposure to an exclusionary world market.
Ethnotek is a hip social business that is expanding worldwide collaboration through direct trade and community initiatives, all the while promoting cultural appreciation.
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