Ethnotek Bags - Socially Conscious and Damn Proud of It

posted by in reviews on Jun 09, 2014 . 0 comments.

Going into the ‘13-14 season we formed a relationship with Ethnotek Bags as a marketing partner for our North America West Soul Shop Tour. As a producer of active lifestyle bags, the connection with a bamboo ski pole manufacturer doesn’t intuitively fit; nevertheless, Ethnotek’s inspiring story and mission won our hearts over. So, whether you’re gearing up for an urban assault to the office or a day trip on the PCT, consider Ethnotek Bags up to the job, with enough style and global consciousness to meet the strictest standards of the conscious consumer.

With a full line-up of daypacks, roll top backpacks, messenger bags, and accessories, each with a variety of interchangeable “threads,” Ethnotek bags’ handmade textiles offer a unique and socially conscious adornment to packs, structured by burly, ballistic nylon.  Ethnotek’s threads are sourced directly from artisan weavers all over the world giving each piece global significance as derivative of a certain geographic location, history, and culture.

Like Soul Poles, Ethnotek’s direct trade sourcing ensures the artisan receives cash for commodity without any middleman.  By growing the market for direct trade textiles, Ethnotek is effectively preserving the livelihoods of thousands of artisan weavers as well as the patterns, colors, and methods evolved from their unique environmental, historical, and social circumstances. The growth of mutually beneficial and respectful relationships between businesses and producers creates a climate to incentivize high-quality work through better wages and benefits. 

Driven to learn more about Ethnotek’s history and trajectory, I called up Ethnotek Bags’ Sales Director, Megan Suszynski - this is the scoop:

Me: So what does Ethnotek mean?

Megan: Ethnotek is the fusion between two things, ethnology and technology, where ethnology is the analytical study of culture. So, with Ethnotek bags, our customers are carrying culturally significant fabrics on their urban commute.


Me: What is the ultimate goal of Ethnotek bags?

Megan: The ultimate goal for us is to sustain the cultures that we work with through the preservation of their handmade crafts. Each of the artisans producing Ethnotek bags are directly dealt with and are selected based on our sustainability and safety standards.


Me: Is there anything about Ethnotek bags that you want more people to know?

Megan: One of the cool things that a lot of people don’t hear about is the interchangeability component. With all of our backpacks and messenger bags there is an option for interchangeable threads, allowing “ETK tribe members,” to change the appearance and cultural story of their bag instantaneously.


Me: Are there any new products coming out in the near future?

Megan: We are actually launching our 2014 Summer Travel Collection this Friday, which includes a new wallet and a smaller sized messenger bag.

Photo: Ethnotek Bags

After doing a bit of digging, I was able to surface some pre-release photos of Ethnotek Bags’ new Cyclo Sling and the Chiburi Travel Wallet.  These two products are an ideal way to store important belongings on any adventure.  Sharing the same handcrafted, globally conscious textiles we have previously seen from Ethnotek Bags, the Cyclo Sling features cool new features, including hidden pockets to hide valuables.  Additionally, the Chiburi Travel Wallet is the perfect size to fit all traveling needs and comes in a variety of different fabrics.  If you are looking for fun, practical Ethnotek products at a price significantly lower than their flagship packs and messenger bags, make sure to check out these two new products on this Friday, June 13th!

Photo (Left & Right): Ethnotec Bags

Talking with Megan and learning more about Ethnotek makes us look a little deeper at the purchases we make.  As global citizens it is important for us to understand the impact our purchases have on other cultures and regions of the world.  Through education and living intentional lifestyles we can take the small steps to support companies with more equitable trade relationships and lower-impact products.  Together, we can shift the tides towards a brighter global future.


In times like these, I like to evoke a favorite quote of mine…


“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.

Margaret Mead



To learn about Ethnotek Bag's and their summer 2014 line check out their website,


Article: Kevin Zimmerman

tags: poles, bamboo ski poles, Ethnotek Bagslast update: Jun 13, 2014


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