What Does 'Escama' Mean?


After 20 years, we've come to accept the fact that very few people in the known universe can understand or pronounce the name of our company. “Escama?" “What's that?" For English speakers, no one knows what this word means, it doesn’t conjure up any visual association. So, what does it mean?

'Escama' is a Portuguese Word

‘Escama’, pronounced es-KA-ma, means ‘fish scales’ in Portuguese. We know, it’s pretty weird to name a brand of handbags ‘fish scales’. But not really…  

alt="escama means fish scales"

Fish Scales (and other scaly things)

We chose the name Escama because – from a Brazilian perspective – it is a spot-on description of the purses. The bags have the same silvery glint and suppleness of the scales on a giant fish. The choice of the word ‘Escama’ in Portuguese was also deliberate -- it's the language of Brazil, the place where our handbags are made.

alt="escama means scales of fish or lizard or dragon"


 The Meaning of 'Escama Studio'

The shiny 'scales' of our purses, created from supple layers of up-cycled pop tabs, made us feel that the word Escama was a fitting name. But why did we add the word 'Studio'?

alt="silver scales purse from aluminum pop tabs - escama studio"

We added the word 'studio' because it helps to describe where the products come from and how they are made. Our bags and accessories are made in small quantities, hand crafted with a fine attention to detail. The artisans take a great deal of pride in their individual creations. We design and manufacture with sustainability in mind. The word 'studio' is a way to express our slow-fashion, 'artist studio' approach to business.
alt="escama studio artisans in Brazil"
Escama is Chain Mail
Our interpretation of the word Escama is just one way of looking at things. Whereas we see fish scales, other people conjure up other interesting visual associations. One of the things we hear the most is that the purses look like chain mail or armor. In fact, the word Escama in Portuguese and in Spanish is used to describe a type of 'scale mail' armor.
alt="joan of arc in escama scale mail armor"

 The bags do, in fact, look like chain mail. So many people see the visual connection between Escama bags and chain mail that I've grown accustomed to hearing the word spoken over and over, not only in English but even in other languages (i.e. Russian = ‘Kolchuga’!! ). Chain mail has a cool appearance and we love the look -- not the real chain mail of medieval battle -- but the chain mail of fashion. One part Joan of Arc, one part disco ball, the glam chain mail collections of Gianni Versace, Alexander McQueen, and Paco Rabanne are show stoppers!

alt="chain mail purse from aluminum pop tabs - escama studio"

What associations do you have when you see an Escama purse? We'd love to know!

This blog post is dedicated in loving memory to Draco. 'Good night sweet princess'

alt="draco bearded lizard rest in peace"

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