I ducked into a small store off a side street to find row and rows of intricately made, brightly colored pouches and purses. I was immediately drawn towards these beautiful pieces. The shop owner emerged from the back to explain the materials to me. These are purses made by the Hmong, and the fabric comes from a large market in Sapa, Northern Vietnam. Scraps from skirts and other traditional garments are cut up into these small purses and pouches and are a way for the women to make money.
The Hmong have a rich story which they often tell through fabric and weaving. The Paj Ntaub (pronounced Pan-Dow) means "Flower Cloth" and holds special significance. It is made from hemp and designed with intricate embroidery and applique techniques. This and batik dyeing are common in Hmong tradition textiles, as are the Story Cloths, which are visual stories of their history, from agricultural life to war and exile.(Source: Wikipedia and VisualCulture09)
I picked up a few pieces while traveling to bring a bit of Hmong traditional textiles to you. I love the bright colors of orange and pink, in the geometric flower motif scene throughout. Since these are recycled fabrics, I like to imagine who wore the dress from which this pouch was made, what she was doing, and who she was. These purses are again, a continuation of a story, from traditional garments to a large textile market in Sapa, to a small hidden store in Hanoi, traveling to Europe and on to you.
Makes a cute clutch! And is also good for large random things you want to keep organized - paint brushes and markers, electronics and cords, make up, beauty supplies, etc. I use these as a jewelry pouch when traveling and then take it as a dinner clutch on my trips.
In effort to support local artisan communities and cultures, beyond purchasing directly from them, The Ovid Collective will donate a portion of the proceeds to charities benefiting these communities directly. Since I used to live in Wausau, Wisconsin, an area which welcomed one of the largest Hmong refugee communities in the US, I will donate back to this community where I first learned about Hmong culture,The Hmong American Center, has been selected.
I will place a minimum threshold to donate that I will personally fulfill should I not sell all these items (to ensure there is a meaningful donation.) Thanks for your purchase which makes this possible!
Details... you had me at Pompoms...
• Paj Ntaub, Flower Cloth, motif in bright pinks, yellows, oranges, and purples with accent embroidery on front. Back is pink Flower Cloth motif in striped with multi color accents.
• Hemp, recycled from dresses and textiles from the Hmong community; nylon lining
• Small black zipper closure
• Dimensions: 26cm wide, 16cm high, 6cm thick
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Ethical + Conscious Fashion Transparency Check: Medium Transparency
Product - Bought at a local, retail market in Hanoi