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Interviews | September 6, 2020

Edu Pitarch: focus and passion

Edu Pitarch, creative director of Etnia Barcelona, tells us about his career in the brand and his special working relationship with the photographer Biel Capllonch

words Enrico S. Benincasa

Please tell us something about your experience with Etnia Barcelona: how did you get there, the first steps, becoming the creative director, the detachment and then the comeback.

I got into Etnia almost by chance. I began by helping David Pellicer define the brand DNA and creating a powerful identity where we both felt comfortable. After 11 years working at Etnia I decided to go deeper into marketing and study a master’s degree and travel. I was in Silicon Valley watching disruptive companies like Google, Adobe or Salesforce work. Then I came back.

What do you think has been your most important contribution to the growth of Etnia Barcelona over the years?

This should be answered by other people (laughs, editor’s note). I can say that, over time, I have evolved my role in the company but I have always felt a defender of strong DNA and disruptive communication.

How do you think the eyewear field has changed since your debut? What are the main differences between current customers’ requests compared to the ones of 10 years ago?

I think mainly the acceptance of the colour by the customer. I remember that, in the beginning, all the collections were dark and sober. Now there is colour in many collections and the acceptance of risk in the product is greater than before.

Etnia Barcelona has always had a special bond with art. Why?

Simply because we like art and we admire artists a lot. Obviously it is part of the brand positioning but art gives us the freedom to communicate and create in a freer and more disruptive way.

Is there a Etnia Barcelona collection that has a special place in your heart? Why?

I would say Paris-Tokyo collection, no doubt about it. It was the first great collaboration with an artist, Araki Nobuyoshi. Meeting him in person in Tokyo and seeing him photograph a model made me very excited. I think that after Araki I haven’t met any artist with that “aura” of “God”.

Your campaigns are very famous also because they are audacious and impactful. Why this choice?

It’s not a choice, it’s a way of doing things. We always think about going further and trying to guess what the consumer will want to see in us. Coming up with powerful images and messages that have meaning is what makes me wake up every day with a desire.

Do you have a preferred campaign?

The campaign we shot for the Vintage Collection brings back a lot of fond memories. We were traveling across Europe and the USA, visiting the most hipster neighborhoods and looking for the most unique faces. We usually call them “urban safaris”. We met many people and heard tons of interesting stories from them. We learned a lot from this experience. I would like to repeat it again, but with another approach.

How did you get in touch with Biel Capllonch? Why did you choose him the first time you worked together for Etnia Barcelona?

I had been attending the Sonar Festival for years and seeing their images. In a meeting with an agency I realized that he was the person I was looking for, he was “the guy” for the Etnia campaigns. Working with Biel is working with an artist. You can’t limit him, but the result is practically a pictorial work because of his treatment of light.

How has your professional relationship with Biel developed over the years?

It’s a professional relationship of respect and admiration… I hope it’s mutual. Biel is like Romario at Barça, the policy you adopt with him is to let him do what he wants because he will surely score goals.

Can you please tell us something about how you and Biel work together? Have there been any differences between one campaign and another over the years?

When I didn’t know him, I tried to carry the idea very much in my head. Over time you learn to think about starting points and initial ideas and you end up completing them with his point of view.

What are the main news for Etnia Barcelona’s future? Do you think the Covid crisis will impact Etnia Barcelona offer and, generally speaking, the whole eyewear industry?

Etnia Barcelona keeps going up like a rocket. It is the company’s most creative year and a revolution in the world of glasses is brewing in the design and brand departments. Nothing can stop us except another lockdown. Luckily it’s not all negative and Covid has also brought us more evolved ways of thinking that I hope will stay in society forever.