Ecological, made to order and online: these are the three pillars that ETRALA LONDON is founded on. Their slogan is: “Made in London from 100% natural fabrics”.
The creators, María and Emilio, both born in Seville, decided to set out on the great adventure of their lives in 2011. María studied Environmental studies but had always wanted to get into fashion. So, following her dream, she went to Madrid to learn more about her true motivation. As for Emilio, he was a student of Business Management and Administration and he knew that he wanted to run his own business. It was a perfect combination that eventually led to ETRALA LONDON.
As often happens, their success has been the result of hard work and radical changes in the course of their professional careers. As a result, today we can tell you about ETRALA LONDON, with both men’s and women’s clothes, that has doubled down on handmade clothes made from natural material such as pure silk, English wool and organically-grown cotton. With these elements, they create high-quality designs with one unifying principle: all made only to order, to reduce stock and to avoid wasting energy. Their model is sustainable and responsible, demonstrating that it is possible to combine surprising designs and high quality work.
The result is a brand of clothing that screams quality, style, class and now, ranging from delicate items such as blouses made of white silk, or tweed and velvet jackets with vibrant colours and many more casual and daring items, sweaters with elements inspired by the world of comics or jackets made from red wool and hounds-tooth. Without a doubt, their designs are fetching and happy, rich in texture and interesting patterns. You can see some of their designs on their website which also serves as their main point of sale.
At So Catchy! we’ve taken a liking to anything young, fresh and made with care by talented people, especially those who have taken a different path, bet on something new and followed their dreams. ETRALA LONDON seems to want to say that fashion is much more than simply wearing clothes.
SC!: Where does the name “ETRALA” come from?
EMILIO: Etrala comes from “al arte” (to Art) backwards.
SC!: Where’s your workshop?
MARÍA: Since we run an online business, we’ve got our studio at home, in Central London, or rather, we’ve made our home in the studio since Etrala keeps taking up more and more space.
That’s where we design, make the patterns and some of the samples, we manage the business and the online shop, the website that we made ourselves. The rest of the clothing production is done in a small sewing shop in London.
SC!: What do you mean when you say that ETRALA is a sustainable fashion brand?
E: Made in London from 100% natural fabrics”, that’s our slogan. In Etrala, we only use natural fabrics (English wool, silk, organic cotton, etc.). No synthetics like polyester or the like. And we control the quality and the origin of the fabrics. We only make clothes to order (15 days once the order has been placed online) and we do it all in London. The articles are made to last and hold onto for your entire life. This goes against the concept of Fast Fashion, which runs rampant in this day and age, producing tons of low quality clothes to be used and thrown away, made in Asia, at incredibly low prices where human rights are almost non-existent.
SC!: How did the Positee Project get started?
M: Last summer we got the idea to do a fun, fresh project. We wanted to show off how we work and what we’re like, young, optimistic and willing to work for a better world. We wanted to make t-shirts from organic cotton with a positive message. First we designed various models and said, “Well, which one should we do?” That’s when we got the idea to ask people to vote for their favourites. The project was very important for us and attracted a lot of attention from both the public and the press, which of course has been good for our brand.
SC!: What did it feel like to have your first visitors / clients?
M: It’s very emotional when someone buys our clothing because it means they like our designs and they value our ideas. It’s what gives us the strength to carry on!
SC!: what kinds of people buy your work?
E: We think that, as much for the quality as the price, our typical clients have been a bit older than we originally thought they’d be. So we’ve adapted the style a bit so the clothes can be worn by all ages and not appear too juvenile. As for the men’s shirts, those go mostly to younger men. They typically by what they like without looking at the price. The T-shirts have also been popular amongst young people of both sexes. With our wide range of products we’ve got something for a large amount of the public.
SC!: Gives us an accounting of these last two years since ETRALA got started.
M: The fashion world is really competitive and breaking in takes awhile. We’ve also been trying to introduce a change in mentality and shopping habits (online, sustainable, made to order) and it’s still a bit difficult for people to understand the concept and get used to it. However, the response has been quite good and on the whole, they’ve been positive without a doubt.
SC!: Are there any new projects, collections, collaborations, or upcoming events that you can tell me about?
E: Now we’re working on the new Spring / Summer 2014 collection that should come out in March. Before then we’ll have a new collection of men’s shirts. In the meantime, we’ll be attending any events that come up and organising presentations for the new collection like always. Since we’re now only selling direct to the customer, we’ve stopped going to trade fairs. We realised that they’re not into our concept; they prefer a ‘mass market’ approach, which goes against our idea of Slow Fashion.
Photos by: KUNYDIAMOND STUDIO
Models: Lola Zapata, Cristina González
Make-up: Silvia Romero
Production and video: Antonio Villar
Location: Restaurante Tommy Mel’s
Translated by Michael Padilla