As Ecuador continues to be the cradle of unique artisanal techniques, Sensi Studio was born out of love to protect the country’s rich heritage.
Founded in 2014, the brand started off by producing genuine Panama hats to spread the country’s creative identity around the globe.
Besides keeping this artisanal flair alive, one of the main aims of Sensi Studio under the leadership of its founder, Stephany Sensi, is to give back to society by providing job opportunities within the community.
“I wanted to keep the millenary craft alive and innovative, by providing work to women, who can balance taking care of their children with a source of income,” she tells Emirates Woman.
From hats to bags, each design caters to the modern woman, making it the perfect summer addition to any closet.
To delve into the brand’s history, we spoke to Sensi about what it took to create a brand that evokes beach ready from every angle.
What do the first 30 minutes of your day look like, your morning routine?
I usually wake up 6:30am and get the kids ready for school. I train every day for an hour, have two lattes for a quick caffeine boost, and then get ready to leave the office.
What inspired you to launch Sensi Studio and how would you describe the aesthetic?
I moved back to Ecuador 10 years ago and started travelling around the little towns in the Andes, trying to find ideas of what to do. I knew, I wanted to start my own business and wanted to find something special that felt like me. This is where I fell in love with Panama hats. It’s a unique product because of the artisanal process and how it’s made. After exploring the market, I noticed that only were only basic options available and I knew that I could develop something very fashionable and much more aesthetic and fun. Hence, I launched the first Sensi Studio collection of hats with an artisanal aesthetic and a modern spin.
Your pieces are made from traditional techniques – talk us through the process.
For hats, it’s usually a long process, as the hats are made from Toquilla straw which is endemic to Ecuador. The straw is processed for weaving, colour dyed and dried in the sun. Then each weaver takes home the straw they need to weave by hand. Post the weaving process, each hat is delivered to their artisanal community for pressing and final touches. The hat received is then worked on through final touches such as ribbons, embroidery, and more. Each hat can take from two days to six months for the complete process, depending on the thinness of the straw, the finer the straw, the finer the hat.
Your hats make a signature statement. How do you keep innovating?
I work on creative inputs and a concept for each collection. I constantly take inspiration from around me, be it travelling, art, music or different cultures.
Your brand gives back to society. How important was it for you to work with the local Ecuadorian artisans?
This was my main mission and reason for starting the brand. I wanted to keep the millenary craft alive and innovative, by providing work to women, who can balance taking care of their children with a source of income. This is what keeps me going.
How have you incorporated sustainability and was this key from the outset?
Our accessories are made entirely by hand, as the process of weaving the straw is completely sustainable, ensuring that I don’t need to incorporate any more practices. The basic process of the development of straw accessories is totally sustainable by itself, that’s the beauty of it.
What key staples would you recommend from the latest collection?
I love the soft Viajero bags which are ideal for travelling to any summer destination and fit any beach day. Any hat with an adjustable ribbon can also be styled with a simple look for afternoon strolls and the seashell clutch for the night.
This is The Summer Escape Issue – where would you like to escape to this summer?
I’m writing this now from Croatia, as we are all on a yacht visiting the Dalmatian coast. I’m very happy to have escaped here for a week on vacation with my family. It’s truly a gorgeous gem.
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