Juana et Ddiddue Etcheberry are the creative duo behind the brand Owantshoozi. Their brand was protagonist during the last edition of the prestigious Festival de Hyeres where they won two awards sponsored by Chanel and Hermès.
In recent years, a strong generation of emerging and independent fashion designers is growing up and ethics, research and sustainability are the basis of their artistic-creative vision.
Owantshoozi is the brand founded by Juana and Ddiddue Etcheberry that has caught the attention during the last “35e festival International de mode et d’accessoires de mode de Hyères”.
The duo at the head of the brand Owantshoozi, Basque equivalent of the onomatopoeia “wahou”, designs, creates and sells its caps, between 70 and 150 euros, made solely from recovered materials within a radius of 50km.
We had a wonderful talk with them and discovered a bit about their life, their projects and their dreams.
Editor: Hi Guys! Thank you very much for accepting our request.
Owantshoozi: Thank you very much for your interest in our brand.
Editor: Who is Owantshoozi?
Owantshoozi: We are Juana and Ddiddue Etcheberry, brother and sister living in the smallest province of Basque Country in the french side. Juana graduated at La chambre syndicale de la couture Parisienne in Paris, and Ddiddue graduated in interior architecture in Belgium and also at the design academy in Eindhoven. After our studies we worked in different domains: we ‘ve created a small museum about Basque Mythology in our region for two years. The space is articulated by videos, furnitures, costumes, paintings, audio, sculptures around the vast world of the basque myths. Then Juana was working on traditional costumes in different theatrical and dance representations while I was working as freelance designer for some industries or craftsmen. In 2016, we wanted to take a step back in our works experience. Juana ran a bar restaurant in the village for two years and I worked as a carpenter in traditional roofing in high altitude with a friend. Those two challenges were crazy for us, but we had to do it: Living experiences far from the job you’re used to gives you other opportunities. We also organised as volunteers a Music Festival for 9 years in our small village of 500 inhabitants. A music and art festival, which brought around 5000 persons. So, as you see, we like to do things with our crazy feelings in different domains.
Then we decided to create our brand OWANTSHOOZI focused on creating upcycled objects.
Editor: What does Owantshoozi mean? How was this name born?
Owantshoozi: OWANTSHOOZI is an onomatopoeia that we use in the south-west of France. This word is used orally by the Y generation but was never written. It has as a positive as a negative meaning when something weird shitty or great happens. We wrote the name to read it in different languages.
One day, we were in our favorite place in the world: a huge dump full of people’s trash: the discharge. We love to go there, it’s full of ideas. We saw a big amount of colorful plastic recipients that could be used as cap visors. There we said: “owantshoozi! Let’s make some hats from trash!”. Using trash to create new objects is as old as the world, now we call it upcycling.
Editor: Can you explain to me the idea and the creative process behind your brand?
We love to meet different kind of people to understand why and where they throw their waste or declassified objects: We’ve created our local waste chain between industries, leisure centers as paragliding for example and Basque agglomeration community to re-employ their plastic waste. This network was long to create but you get always surprised by the diversity of materials that we are not used to in the fashion world.
After harvesting all the materials, you have to clean, sand, polish, iron, to make them new, we create all our patronage and we assemble all the parts together with our four hands and with those new materials you have to create or adjust your tools! Our fusion between Juana which is stylist modelist and Ddiddue as a designer makes the aesthetics complete and functional. The super strong materials that we use as rubber from downgraded boots or air chambers, plastics like flowerpots, paragliding sails gives to our design a post-apocalyptic futuristic aesthetic.
With our hat collection we like the idea of being protected from our trash.
Editor: Let’s talk about art: what is your relationship with art and how does influence your collections?
Owantshoozi: Art is a vaste world and of course it influences us in our work. We gave movie names for instance to some of our hats. Aguirre, the wrath of god from Herzog, is a kind of cloche hat. Tetsuo, from Shin’ya Tsukamoto, is a huge japanese hat. Holy is an elegant hat. The name comes from The Holy Mountain from Alejandro Jodorovsky. Finally, our cap Solaris comes from this amazing filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky, which films simple tunnels to create science fiction effects.
We also love museums. For example, we use to go to Guggenheim museum in Bilbao. But our closest museum stays the colorful discharge in the region.
Editor: Your project was one of the protagonist of the last edition of Festival de Hyères. You won an award, right?
Owantshoozi: We won two awards: The big “Chanel prize” of the jury chaired by Hubert Barrère with our hat collection and the “Hermès Prize” with our bracelet .
The Hermès price was new this year, each finalist had to create a jewel with the constraints to use leather and brass. We surprisingly won also this amazing Price!
Editor: How did you live the experience?
Owantshoozi: We met fantastic people. We’ve spent a week with the competitors which were brilliant, and super friendly! The organizers of the festival created an amazing Festival in the villa and the jury was great.
We will be on the jury next year. We are enthusiastic about it and we’ll discover other projects!
Editor: What king of energy do you have during the days of the festival?
Owantshoozi: A weird one because we were out of energy after creating our collection ( we’ve ended our collection the day before the venue to Hyères). By receiving the two prices it gives you recognition, and this is the best energy that you can get!
Editor: How do you think your brand will evolve?
Owantshoozi: We really don’t know, we love our work by living in the present moment without thinking too much about the future. We are only two and it’s difficult to go from the harvest of trash, to create objects and to sell in the markets, it takes so much time!! So we would like a 3rd brother or sister to work with us, to have more time to create.
Editor: Do you want to do just accessories line or will you think in the future to a man|woman collection created with your concept?
Owantshoozi: You will see our new collection soon, we like surprises!
Editor: Would you like to give any advice to young creatives like you who will read this interview?
Owantshoozi: Try to experience a job that has nothing to do with fashion for instance, you will see your work in a different way. Be curious, sensitive, confront fear and don’t throw your drafts that you think they’re bad.
Cover photo credit: Emile Kirsch