If you’ve spent time in developing countries, you’ve seen how Western consumerism impacts distant communities. You don’t need to look hard to find local markets dedicated to cheap, knock-off bags and accessories; the result of mass production fueled by purchasing decisions around the world. At the same time, you’ve probably observed traditional artwork and rich culture in these same communities, ancient practices struggling to stay relevant alongside this new wave of imposed modernity.
It was from these observations that EST WST was formed. We seek to inspire an exploration of origins, while shedding light on the interconnectedness of our world. By collaborating with skilled artisans in countries such as Nepal and India, we design functional products that connect Eastern cultures with Western markets. Our logo is symbolic of our efforts, with two arrows pointing east and west, bound together in the form of a stitch.
We utilize durable natural fibers alongside handwoven traditional textiles, and we highlight stories of the people that help make this all possible. We never compromise on our aesthetic, but sustainability is at the core of every decision we make.
Without going into too much detail around the destructive impacts that the fashion industry has on the environment, it’s worth pointing out that most bags on the market are made from either a heavy polyester canvas, chromium-tanned leather, or some combination of the two. Polyester production emits 4 times as much GHG emissions as cotton production, and conventionally grown cotton consumes an insane amount of pesticides and insecticides. To drop a fact, 1/4th of all insecticides sold go towards cotton farming. We all know these chemicals are detrimental to the environment; they destroy soil, contaminate clean water sources, and introduce serious health risks to local communities. None of this is necessary as cotton is a natural fiber that can be grown organically. Leather manufacturing tells a similarly discouraging story, with chromium salts causing major health problems in rural areas where manufacturing is prevalent.
EST WST is based around the materials we use and the people who make them. We use a diverse set of textiles from different parts of the word, including handwoven wild nettle, a fast-growing plant in the foothills of the Himalayas; organic ikat, handwoven in villages in India where it has been woven for centuries; and dhaka, made in the workshop where the textile was founded, in a quiet hill station in Southern Nepal. Because of the heavy toll that conventional cotton production takes on local communities, we use organic handloom cotton and recycled yarns instead. The leather used for our bags is by-product hide, tanned with vegetables rather than the toxic chemicals used on the leather of most bags manufactured worldwide. By innovating the use of these traditional textiles for the modern customer, we see an opportunity to help support traditional craft and sustainable production, incorporating a fresh and authentic piece of culture into our designs.
If you’d like to keep in touch, join our mailing list; where we release limited edition pre-orders at a discounted rate. If you have general feedback, comments or questions, drop us a line anytime. Sustainability requires persistence and we're constantly progressing, so if you have ideas on how we can do things better, we would love to hear from you.