The Black Hmongs live in the highlands of northern Vietnam. Unlike other Hmong people, their cultural wear embodies minimalism and simplicity. Rather than the bright colors in traditional clothing, they prefer blacks and blues.
Xim” means “color” or “dye” in Hmong language.To color fabrics, the Black Hmongs use a natural indigo dye. The darker the color, the more times the fabric should be soaked into the indigo solution. Soak it once for light blue, or 50 times to reach a deep black color. ” This amazing artisan tradition is the inspiration and the name behind this Summer collection.
The Hmongs live in remote areas, follow their own culture and speak their own language. About two hundred years ago, they were forced to emigrate south of what was then the Chinese Empire, and so ended up in Vietnam, Laos and Thailand. Living in remote areas of the country, protected them and subsequently transformed their culture. During our 2017 expedition, we met with Hmong people in northern Vietnam, in Sapa, Bac Ha and other mountain ranges.
There are several subcultural divisions of Hmong people – White Hmong, Black Hmong, Red Hmong, even Flower Hmong. These names originate from the color and designs of traditional dresses in each respective group. And while traditional clothing of other nationalities seems far removed from the modern world, the clothing of the Black Hmongs looks incredibly relevant for today. Black Hmong people have the most minimalist, traditional wear of them all. Because of this, they are easy to recognize.
” We traveled into rural areas to see the authenticity. I felt so saddened that such incredible traditional clothings, yet very modern in appearance, are worn only as far as the Indochina mountains. I wanted to give the Hmongs heritage an opportunity to go beyond these borders and see the world, ” Daryna adds.
It is not only the wear, but also the culture of these people that is significant. The bond between the Black Hmong and nature is deep and can be seen in their very philosophy of living. They understand how to use only natural materials for all their daily needs, leaving almost zero footprint on ecology.
This is also reflected in our collection – we use natural Tencel fabric, which is ideal for the hot season and does not require a lot of resources for production. This leaves little damage to nature during manufacturing and after disposal.
We pay tribute to the Black Hmong and their hard work by retaining their minimalism, simplicity and traditional color palette. To add more natural connections to the collection, some items in this summer collection have oblique, see-through cuts that portray sun rays in a bamboo forest. This is also how we see modern femininity: as our oblique cuts display the skin only when you move, we share our vision for today’s femininity in not covering all, but showing less and leaving more to the imagination.
Black Hmong cultural wear is all made by hand, requiring extensive time and skill to finish a single piece. If you take even a small, old Hmong cloth, you’d be surprised how neat and tidy the seamwork is. We did not expect to see this level of sewing perfection in the midst of the mountains, as almost all clothes are used for hard work in the fields. We transferred this precise and almost perfect sewing to our collection.
Now, however, instead of producing their own goods from natural materials – which is difficult, requires time and specific knowledge – they are buying low cost goods from China. But synthetic clothing can’t replace the quality and spirit of the hand-made garments from natural materials.
Some cultures are being forced by others to change or even vanish, while some are in danger of extinction because of the negative impact of their own people. Because of the cheap prices and mass production, their distinct heritage is slowly being erased. This is happening now to the Hmong people, as well as a lot of other cultures across the world.
With each FRAMIORE piece we create, we want to change this by narrating about the heritage of different nations of the world.