When you travel around the world, people always ask you “What is your favorite country”?
It’s a really hard question because every country is so different…So it’s hard to choose… But, there is one country I especially fell in love with…Guatemala.

 

I fell in love with the diversity of landscapes: volcanoes, jungle, ocean…

I fell in love with the people, shy but big-hearted…

I fell in love with the culture, the respect of the roots & ancestry, the respect of nature…

But I overall fell in love with the Textile Tradition… When I discover the Guatemalan brand Etnico Culture I wrote to Judy, the founder, to know more about and she spoke to me about its story with so much passion and sincerity that I really wanted to share it with you. And, I travel all around Australia & Bali wearing proudly my favorite backpack made by a leather maker from Etnico Culture.

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  • [Cotton & Travel]
Hello Judy, I fell in love with your brand last summer, so I am really happy that my readers can know about your amazing story through this interview !
So, could you tell me how did Etnico Culture’story begin and its missions?
  • [Judy, Etnico Culture]:
“Growing up in Antigua, Guatemala and at a very young age my mother instilled in me the love and appreciation for the people, customs, and pieces of art. In 2016, on a trip down to visit my family, a renewed appreciation came over me for all things hand woven, hand made, custom made.
With the support from my family and friends, I was able to make that dream a reality.  I knew I wanted to showcase quality, hand made pieces to share my culture, roots,ancestry with others and after many months of research, I found the perfect fit with the leather maker.
Our main focus is to offer quality leather products forging the traditional customs in the hand woven fabrics with a modern twist to make a fashionable, functional, timeless piece.”
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  • [Cotton & Travel]
So, why did you chose to build an ethical fashion business? And was it more challenging ?
  • [Judy, Etnico Culture]:
“I wouldn’t have it any other way. Our customers have the right to know the story behind the product, how much hard work goes into each piece hand woven…
For us it was not a difficult choice, it was the only choice.  I knew I needed to know who was making our product, and instead of going through an intermediary company, I wanted to go directly to the source.
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  • [Cotton & Travel]
Can you tell me more about the story of your products and the makers you work with? And what are you the most proud of in your business?
  • [Judy, Etnico Culture]:
“Our bags are made with a leather craftsman in Lake Atitlan who has 30 years experience.  His work is the finest quality, with attention to detail.  He has several family as well as university students working the trade, giving them opportunity to learn the universal technique of quality leather making.
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  • [Judy, Etnico Culture]:
Here are some of my favorite products:
To the right:
Tenango convertible day bag. Made with traditional huipil textile & genuine leather finishes. This is a 3 in 1 bag (hand held, cross body and backpack)
Below to the left:
Lana day bag with detachable shoulder strap. Made with traditional wool rug from Momostenango, in the Highlands of Guatemala.
Below to the right:
Our newest collection: the Antigua totes, modern, fashionable and timeless.
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etnico-culture-leather-bag
leather-bag-etnicoculture
  • [Judy, Etnico Culture]:
“My source for cosmetic bags is a women’s cooperative in San Juan La Laguna, Lake Atitlan made up of a group of 35 talented women supporting each other in order to achieve a fair wage, providing for their families. Each person has a roll in the process.”
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etnico-culture-cosmetic-bags
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  • [Judy, Etnico Culture]:
“I’m proud of being able to take a small piece of Guatemalan culture to others through the hand woven textiles with a technique that dates back thousands of years and past down from generation to generation.  It’s not just a fabric, it’s a story, a background, a work of art.
Thanks to Judy for this interview !
Here below, I preapred for you a selection of my favorite bags from Etnico Culture. Click on the picture to find the product on the website.
Please find more info on their Instagram and Website
And to find the leather backpack I wear during my travels, please click HERE
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Textile Clutch Cross Body
Lana Day Bag
Volcano Ikat clutch
textile wristlet
michelle textile

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