Etisha Collective: one year of redefining the meaning of luxury
Established during the 2020 pandemic, Etisha Collective found their true calling when home comforts became more important than ever. Offering responsibly crafted, luxurious pieces, this brand is the brainchild of Berlin-based Etisha — a self-confessed "philocalist, who believes in the story of nature and humans".
Exercising their belief that emotions and energy pass on from the hands of the maker to the user, each Etisha Collective towel is woven by expert artisans with good vibes only and the finest fibres – developing the true essence of luxury. Naturalists at heart, their entire supply chain is transparent, so customers know exactly where each towel has come from, how it's been made and what materials have been used – while honouring a 17th-century weaving heritage that's second to none.
As the brand nears its first anniversary, we sat down with founder Etisha Pipada to discover her philosophy and learn what Etisha Collective are doing to preserve secular traditional craftsmanship.
How would you summarise your brand story?
The beauty of being for me has always been in the little pleasures of life that go unnoticed but constitute significantly to the feeling of satisfaction — a feeling of real luxury. From looking out the flower-drenched terrace of a Sicilian Masseria onto the turquoise Tyrrhenian Sea, to catching that one glimpse of the sinking sun in the Thar desert.
Etisha Collective derives from my inspirations and aspirations. It's an extension and expression of everything I’ve experienced, liked, or believed in. It's about natural purity, exquisite craft, soul-stirring designs, and the best quality pieces. COVID forced the world to slow down, reflect and retrospect on the things that really matter.
We love the element of craftsmanship behind Etisha Collective, could you tell us more about the manufacturing process and how you were inspired by heritage looming traditions?
The story begins in the 17th century. During the 600-year long Ottoman era, Turkey was one of the biggest and finest textile producers in the world. During that time, the women in the king's harem would push the weavers of Bursa, Turkey to do elaborate and beautiful things with the towels they would take on their spa visits. This is when the Ottoman weavers invented the looping technique on the loom, and the towels this technique produced became world-renowned, not just for their innovative weave — but because the towels lasted such an incredibly long time and were ultra absorbent.
This loom technique spread around the world and changed our idea of what a towel could be – prior to that, a towel was not much more than a rag. So, we have our lovely royal harem ladies to thank for the luxury we call a towel today.
Here at Etisha Collective, we work with the last remaining thousand weavers that are left in this ancient region. Beyond these artisans and a few scattered people, there isn’t much left of Turkey’s once prosperous weaving industry. In just over forty years, almost all of the country’s ancient hand weaving villages have succumbed to cheaper industrial replacements.
With such a traditional and time-honoured technique being used to craft, how long does it take to craft an Etisha Collective piece?
It really depends on the complexity of the weave. We choose the vegetable dyed cotton thread ourselves and our artisans do the entire weaving process and fringe tying by hand, so each piece can take up to 48 hours of work to finish.
What are your sustainability practices — did you start Etisha with them in mind?
Nobody or nothing is perfect, but we all strive for perfection. A similar principle applies to sustainability for us. Here at Etisha Collective, we have immense respect and admiration for nature and the concept of humanity. And this admiration carries through to the way we source our materials, select our artisans, what packaging we use, and how we work within our company.
When we say sustainable there are a number of boxes we've ticked in order to do so. Besides our handmade products made using a 17th-century technique, and preserving ancient weaving communities — our cotton is 100% GOTS certified, we only use vegetable dyes, conserve water, ensure an ethical working environment among other practises we try to incorporate.
It's your first year anniversary. What about Etisha Collective makes you the proudest?
When we started, we didn't have any projections of the year to come, we didn't know the turns the industry would take or the world in general. As a global, culturally diverse team dispersed across 4 countries, we were already remote-working. From one person envisioning a brand to a team of 6 and several other mentors, advisors and guest contributors, we've grown and evolved.
We assumed it would be slow given the circumstances, but every step of the way we were ensured that the direction we had set course for was where the world was pivoting. I am proud of the wonderful people we met that had values like ours, connections we made, partnerships we signed in such a short span of time.
The brand you see before you today has a presence from the UK to India and the US. We're so proud of this journey and the coverage we've received from publications across the world
Last but not least, what's your favourite Etisha Collective piece and why?
My favourite piece will always be the Mute Eloquence in pale yellow. It’s the first piece we launched and it’s the piece that took me off my feet when I learnt it was a towel. It’s the piece that gave me the confidence to establish Etisha Collective and bring this heritage back to life.