Wanderloot Loves Hill Tribe Textiles

Hmong Women in Sapa, Vietnam

From my first trips to Vietnam and Thailand, I’ve been obsessed with Hill Tribe textiles. The colors and details are unparallelled in contemporary craft and let’s face it – it’s not likely these groups will be around for long.

Yao Tribe Children

In Vietnam, the Hill Tribes (54 different ethnic groups) make up 10% of the population but are slowly being assimilated into the mainstream population, leaving behind their traditional ways. They are a nomadic people who have migrated from Southeast Asia to areas as far north as the mountains of Tibet. They live on wet-rice cultivation, fishing and handicrafts. They are known for the beautiful decorative patterns of their hand-sewn textiles.

I’ve been particularly obsessed with the Yao (also known as Dao) peoples’ robes (worn by the children above). I always pick up new pieces to add to my personal collection, and I’ve begun putting up some of my recent finds on Wanderloot.com in the Vintage category.

Vintage Yao Tribe Woman's Robe


Yao Woman

I’m always buying books on textiles in Vietnam, and was amused to find a woman wearing the same scarf I have on Wanderloot.com (below).

Another tribe I’ve recently discovered is the Catu Tribe known for their intricate beaded weft-thread technique where the beads are incorporated into the weave structure.

Catu Tribe
Catu Tribe Textiles

There are over 59,000 Catu people who live north of the Truong Son mountain range in Vietnam. Catu weaving is a sophisticated marriage of colors with an abundance of bead motifs. The weavers manipulate several wooden bars with their legs to create a loom. Each bead motif has its own name and meaning, representing something in nature or in the the daily life of the Catu people. To see our Catu pieces click here.

As the world gets more and more modernized, these traditional artforms are dying out. I love these handcrafted tribal textiles and will be bringing more to Wanderloot.com. Keep checking back!

For a selection of purses made with vintage Hill Tribe textiles, click here.


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