Laos as the crash test, kind of draft … A landlocked & Buddhist multi-ethnic country with an amazing diversity, lovely people and a very rich heritage culture. No plan, no clue, just a wish to do something with collected fabrics and to give visibility to a culture in change … #UPCYCLING
What is LAO P.D.R. official/emblematic women clothing?
Widely used as uniform in the schools, government offices and during celebrations…
Just a hint: it is used in many heritage cultures …
Called the “sinh” in Laos, it is a piece of cloth sown into a cylindrical tube stepped and tucked in at the waist!
From the crops to the offices, thousands of models of sihns can be found in the country. Sihn fabrics can be hand-woven, hand-embroided or mixed with industrial fabrics, threads or ornaments. Pretty sure, everyone finds something!
A “sinh” can say a lot and be recognizable among thousands.
It varies depending on the generation, the social/economic situation, the area, the ethnic group (mostly lao loum/tai kadai or lao theung/austro-asiatic) or sub-group and even the family. Used fabrics, threads, embroideries, colors and patterns have a meaning.
Sihn-Semilla re-presents, a wink and tribute to this amazing country, its culture, crafts and history depicting a little tiny part of what you get there.
Heritage culture & craftsmanship
Traditional skills to spin the thread (cotton, silk or hemp), to prepare natural (indigo, ebony, teak, wild almond, annatto tree, betel, jackfruit, turmeric, beetroot…) dyes mixtures and leads to weave (Ikat, Nam Lai, Chok & Kit …) and to customize with embroidery, applique, batik or other techniques.
Heritage culture country at the very beginning of development, few hours before to loose track on their traditional fabrics, costumes and savoir-faire.
A focus on the traditional with a little potpourri of know-how.
Green hills & Mekong river
Living in harmony with nature…
Raw materials for handicrafts and daily life (mostly) come from the surroundings, natural materials such as wood, bamboo, clay, cotton, hemp, silk worms, wild wine, natural dyes and loads more.
Here the forest provided cotton, dyes and job tears, natural beads (also yummy in desserts) collected and transformed into necklaces by the Akha.
Borrowed to the mighty river; beautiful pebbles and bit of silver for powerful pendants.
Animists believe trees, rivers, caves or stones to have a soul.
Low– mid– high-land tribes
Learn more in the Filops’era section ; Laos has so many different ethnic groups & sub-groups (Katu, Akha, Lanten, Hmong, Lao … ) living all over the country.
Each of them have their specificities, different know-how and heritage skills handed down from generation to generation.
Sihn-Semilla has a slight inspiration from their costumes. It is a real mix of styles.
Empower who you can, ethnic groups but any kind of communities encountered on the way with special needs such as the Luang Prabang Death and Mute community.
Give a hand, value any culture…
9 years under the bombs, one dropped every 8 minutes …
The stigma of the war are still omnipresent in some regions as crevasses and MAG signs can testify the disaster.
Today, the ugly found the way to the beautiful, UXO and war remains are transformed in spoons and other objects….
Made out of those bombs, simple circles with a strong symbolism.
Sacred to several cultures, the circle means renewal, unity, heaven, balance, space, universe, protection, the moon, the sun and the everything…
We all one, we should thrive for unity and diversity.
CULTURE IN CHANGE …
On the way to an industrial and modern society…
Development generally arrives with huge social and economic changes. Structures of the villages, consumption habits, clothing styles and much more are highly affected. Industrialized products and global culture step by step replace the traditional, the heritage culture … Akha people use to wear a large amount of silver on their costumes and headresses. Silver getting more and more hard to find, it is substituted by aluminium pieces and recycled cans, also used for their emblematic crafts.
and now what ?
This was a crash test, a draft. There is no plan but a wish to give a second round and improve daily designs and practices, to support local economies, cultures and productions. Empower local people and communities, discover and learn about their outfits, their symbolic or way to define people, their values, beliefs and share a bit more deeply about all that (movies, photos, documents…)
Enjoy while it is still possible the old-fashioned style tribes and their heritage culture centered around human and nature as it should be.
Just a way like another to discover that we are all “same same but different”, thank god.