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11 Awesome destinations for traditional textiles around the world

best destination for textiles around the world

Despite the rise of mass produced, industrially manufactured fashion, the world is still full of artisans and designers making traditional textiles. These wares, dating from a rich history of culture clothing, are often made in the same way they have been for generations and sold at local markets across the world.

Whilst this can seem remarkable, it is and has been a way of life for generations. And you can experience the authenticity and heritage firsthand by dodging the middleman and travelling to textile destinations yourself. You’ll be supporting local designers, sustaining the trade and sourcing incredible fabrics to take home. Here are 12 of the top worldwide destinations for traditional textiles.  


traditional textiles peru fanandez (1)

Photto credit: Fanandex blacket by design-junkie.com

11. PERU

Cuzco in the Peruvian Andes is rich with Incan traditional heritage. It also has the most authentic range of Frazadas, ethnic blankets made from hand spun alpaca wool. Modern artisans use the same techniques as generations before them, and a single Frazada takes about a month to complete. The lengthy process means that many makers are going in search of faster incomes, and there has been a decline in the weaving of this traditional fabric in recent times.

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Akha Dao Hmong Traditional Dress Traditional Textiles Vietnam

54 Traditions Under One Roof! Why Vietnam’s Museum Of Ethnology Is Totally Worth The Taxi Ride!

Vietnams museum of ethnology hanoi

Vietnam’s Museum of Ethnology presents an outstanding collection of anthropological artifacts from Vietnam’s 54 ethnic minorities and it’s neighboring countries in South East Asia.  Cultural costume, traditional textiles, handicrafts and tribal art are creatively curated indoors 2 buildings, along side an impressive display of life size ethnic houses and every day objects.  Although the museums location is 20 minute taxi ride from the city center, the Museum of Ethnology is a must for any culture vulture and craft lover visiting the countries capital city and northern rural provinces.

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Countries Dao Traditional Dress Traditional Dress & Textiles Traditional Textiles Tribes Vietnam

Ethnic Embroidery Lessons With The Red Dao in Vietnam

Ethnic Embroidery Lesson with the Red Dao in Sapa

Ta Phin is a Red Dao hill tribe village near the Chinese Vietnam boarder. Just a short 3 hour hike from the former French colonial town of Sapa, Ta Phin has become a popular tourist destination for it’s epic landscapes and ethnic minority encounters. It is impossible to walk by the village without seeing a abundance of scarlet clad sewers eagerly stitching their souvenirs to sell to passers by. January 2016 would be my 5th visit to Sapa from my home in Hanoi, only this time I would be taking the traditional textile techniques into my own hands by enrolling on a 1 day Red Dao ethnic embroidery class.


Hiking in Sapa

One of the incredible views on the hike to Tamay’s house in Ta Phin

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Responsible Tourism: A Guide to Giving Back in Sapa

Ethical things to do in sapa

With the vast majority of hill tribe minorities in Sapa formally uneducated and therefore unemployed I have put together a list of socially responsible and/or independent people and places to invest your precious cash and time with. I hope that this guide will give tourists more opportunity to make a conscious and caring choice when visiting Sapa.

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Countries Dao Traditional Dress Traditional Dress & Textiles Traditional Textiles Tribes Vietnam

Textile Tribes of Vietnam: The Dao of Tinh Tuc

Tinh Tuc Vietnam Textile Tribes

In August 2015 I set off on my own self initiated tribal textiles tour of Ha Giang Province in North Vietnam. Known as home to 70% of Vietnams 54 registered ethnic minority groups, Ha Giang promised to be a eyeopening and electic adventure for any textiles ethuasist.

The majority of people touring this province are either free-spirited motorbikers or nature loving tourist groups. I was on a mission to make contact, see and try and learn about traditional dress and textiles of the enigmatic people living in these remote areas.

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Countries Dao Traditional Dress Traditional Dress & Textiles Traditional Textiles Tribes Vietnam

Red Dao Weddings, Ta Phin, Sapa

Red Dao Wedding Sapa

The Red Dao hill tribe population of Sapa are one subdivision of Dao people living in the highlands of North Vietnam. Red Dao women are considered the most skilled embroiders of all hill tribes. Their scarlet drenched ensembles are sophisticated examples of hand stitched cultural symbology and showcase generations of dedication to sewn storytelling. The Red Dao wedding dress is seen as the summit of success in a women’s sewing accomplishments. Mother and daughter are known spend up to 1 year making nothing else but a brand new ceremonial outfit in preparation for the big day.

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Countries Dao Hmong Lao Lu Lolo Traditional Dress Traditional Dress & Textiles Traditional Textiles Tribes Vietnam

10 Vietnamese Textile Hill Tribes Every Fashion Lover Should Know

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 Are you looking for the best fashion show in Asia? Do you love handcrafted artisan ensembles? Unknown to most is that Vietnam has a staggering 54 different ethnic minorities, many of whom’s cultural costumes are more creatively crafted and indigenously inventive than those so called couture designers in Paris. 

  Check out Haute Culture’s essential guide to the real originators of individuality and style in South East Asia.

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Countries Dao Hmong Life on the road Shopping Traditional Dress Traditional Dress & Textiles Traditional Textiles Trends Tribes Vietnam

Meo Vac: Market, Ethnic Minorities & Ma Pi Leng Pass

haute culture fashion blog black dao vietnam meo vac

“Put your money where you mouth is” holds a whole new meaning to the Black Dao and Hmong women living in the mountains of Ha Giang, North Vietnam. A sparkling smile catching the light across a corn field can symbolise a few meanings to the unsuspecting onlooker in the ethnic minority market towns of Meo Vac and Don Van.

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Countries Dao Traditional Dress Traditional Dress & Textiles Traditional Textiles Tribes Vietnam

Homestay in Sapa with the Red Dao

red dao hill tribe women vietnam

Looking for a great Sapa homestay experience? I have been to Sa Pa on 4 occasions and have spent many nights at Red Dao homes enjoying their cheery and welcoming hospitality. It is a great hands on opportunity to learn about hill tribe culture, customs and the traditional dress which they are so famously recognisable for.

But is a Sapa Homestay for you? Read on to hear my experience and look at the checklist below to help you make the most of you time in North Vietnam!

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