After their first successful collab with artist Ignasi Monreal, ETNIA BARCELONA is releasing a follow-up. The artist and brand work so well together not just because of their common working environment, says Creative Director Edu Pitarch, but also because of the mutual respect and seamless cooperation they enjoy.

Hi Edu, you’re extending your collab with Ignasi Monreal for a second round. How did the first round go?

Our first collab went spectacularly well. With Ignasi, we didn’t want to leave it at that. Normally we do “one shot” collaborations but in this case, we wanted to do a second one—especially since the collection was a copycat edition and very few pieces were made.

What appealed to you personally about it?

Personally, his ability to mix a more classic painting style with the modern universe. I also enjoy his ability to insert details in his paintings that evoke contemporary culture as well as his fashionable overall look.

Ignasi Monreal – like you – comes from Barcelona. Was that a coincidence or is the local connection part of it for you?

I liked him before I knew he was from Barcelona. The fact that both ETNIA and he share a hometown helped us to understand each other. At the time of the collaboration, though, he was living in Rome—he exuded classical art in all his work.

How does the collaboration work in practice? Who contributes what?

When we go to look for an artist, we obviously already know what he does and that we like him. From that point, the challenge is to introduce them to a field in which they aren’t used to working in, such as designing a pair of glasses. We suggest ideas but we never limit the creative freedom of the artist. It is our way of working from the beginning. We want them to give their best and we can only achieve that if they feel free.

The Ignasi collection glasses are very strikingly designed and probably not intended for everyday wear, are they? Who wears the model—and for which occasion?

We think of this model as a collector’s item, but the fashion environment has embraced it as a fetish object. It has been bought by artists, people from the fashion world, Ignasi’s fans, people who want to go to a music festival with a unique pair of glasses, or people who want to be very fashionable at a wedding…

What is the most unique design element of the Ignasi Capsule collection?

I think the central element is the eye—the surreal world to which the fact of having a spectacle with four eyes, or an imaginary peripheral vision, opens us up to.

What is behind the idea of the pair of eyes in the temple? Is there a philosophical element?

Ignasi was inspired by the work of John Berger’s “Ways of Seeing” where he reflects on vision.

Undoubtedly, the eye also gives us a powerful sense of surrealism, referencing Dalí’s work.

Your campaign embraces this surrealistic mood. Why does that work so well with the Ignasi collection?

For this campaign Ignasi wanted to work with photographer Cho Giseok, an incredible photographer who deals with dreamlike universes. The eyewear is also visually very “eye”-catching in the campaigns. Ignasi always likes to work with a point of humor in the concept.

What has changed from the first to the second collection?

Just the colors and the campaign. Ignasi wanted to update the collection with two trendy colors—Lavender and Jade green.

Vol. II is, of course, again going to be limited in the number of pieces. How many interested customers will be able to enjoy a model?

Very few really…there are approximately 300 units of each color. But who knows, maybe there will be a third edition.

Vol. III … 😉

still photos RAPHAEL SCHMITZ, campaign images ETNIA BARCELONA

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