I received an email from Ethnotek advertising for last minute holiday gift shopping. As I read it, they were promoting 40% off the price of certain bags and items sold from the online store. And lo and behold, I saw one of the most beautiful Thread designs from Ethnotek bags.
I bought my first bag from Ethnotek while I was in Korea for a vacation. Thinking that I needed a new bag to switch from time to time from my current Herschel ‘Parker’ backpack, I came across Ethnotek. I have never heard of that brand before. But the design from Guatemala was striking. I also learned (from the description of the tags) that the designs directly sourced from local communities around the world. They would buy the designs and incorporate it into their bags. In return, they would ensure that they are local people who labored in manufacturing these pieces of intricately woven fabric for Ethnotek are paid fairly, and that their lives are tangibly improved through this direct buying and selling scheme. The rainbow hued thread design that covered most of the front portion of the bag I bought was created in exquisite detail. Every band of differing colors were meticulously sewn and threaded together. There were practically no stray threads that bleeds to the other colored bands. I told myself that is one quality product.
The price was quite steep for me, especially for a medium sized bag. Costing just over SGD 200, I was quite hesitant in purchasing it at first. But I was in Korea. I was on holiday. And on holidays you tend to spend, liberally. So I took a gamble and bought it, never using it till I went back home after the holidays were over.
I never regretted that decision. One of the best bags I have ever used. For daily usage, this is perfect. The size is just enough to put everything you need to get through the day. Laptop, notebook, chargers, cables, cardigans, umbrella, water bottle, books. This bag does it all. And it looks better when you pack more things in it. As it fills up the space in the bag, the bag takes on a rectangular shape and there is where you can truly showcase the design of the bag.
After using it for close to three months now, I have yet to find any discernible wear and tear due to daily usage. This bag is built to last. I used this bag for my New Zealand trip, which was shortly after my holiday in Korea. I used it to pack a thick jacket, an extra cardigan, water bottles, and carried where ever I go, even hiking, rain or shine. This bag is hardy. The best part; it comes with its own poncho. So I don’t have to worry about inclement weather ruining the stuff in the bag or the beautiful handcrafted design. Ethnotek, I am sold.
Which is why, when I saw this last chance offer, I pounced on the opportunity to get another one. I was not intending to get one that soon as a matter of fact. But as I was browsing, I saw another exquisite design, one that came from Ghana. Blue, white and brown, in striking linear patterns that overlaps one another, as if the patterns were almost three dimensional. I was smitten. Within 10 minutes I was on the paypal page, making my purchase.
This is a simpler bag, one which is designed with a more general purpose use in mind. Unlike the Setia model, which featured a drawstring, the Wayu bag sports a more traditional all-around zip around the circumference of the bag for general access to your things. I am not too sure about the exact size and volume of this bag, since it wasn’t clearly mentioned, and its hard to measure it with a ruler even the dimensions were revealed. I assumed this to be a medium sized bag, similar to the Setia, if not a little bit bigger, based on the pictures I have seen of people carrying it on their back. This bag has additional pockets in the main compartment, in addition to the default, padded compartment for laptops. Unlike the Setia model, which acts more like a haversack, the Wayu on the other hand allows greater flexibility in using those additional pockets at your own discretion, depending on what you carry.
I cannot wait for this bag. It is, personally to me, stunning. I wouldn’t mind making the effort in switching back and forth between the Setia and the Wayu bags, while retiring my Herschel “Parker” bag for good.