This month is slow fashion month, and in celebration Tamay & Me share their slow fashion story.
Tamay, who comes from the Mien minority group and lives in the North of Vietnam, has always hand stitched her own clothes. When Hannah, from the UK, met Tamay 10 years ago whilst travelling, she was enamoured by her textiles. Tamay offered to teach Hannah the depth of beauty that lies within her cultural embroidery. This was the beginning, and ever since the two have been working together to bring the textiles of the Mien and now other minority groups into the world of ethical and slow fashion.
Mien embroidery is very labour-intensive and the work is all counted stitch. The formulas of the patterns have been passed down for many generations, the symbols represent people, mountains, rice paddies, animals and trees. Learning by Tamay's side, Hannah found that there was a steady pace to doing the embroidery. No way of speeding it up, it is a matter of doing it and repeating it over and over again. If you rush the embroidery or do it without concentrating you may make a mistake.
During the three-month apprenticeship, Tamay and Hannah became great friends. They went onto to collaborate to sell vintage textiles, supporting families who had little access to sell to passing tourists. However after some years, they saw quality vintage pieces running out, and their best selling men’s jackets were becoming difficult to source.
It was then that the idea for Tamay & Me was born. They decided to re-imagine the old jacket style. Together, Tamay and Hannah retraced the artisans who still had the traditional skills and worked with them to create a collection of unisex sizes. The jackets are made using hand-spun and woven, locally produced cotton, which is dip-dyed in naturally fermented indigo and completed with hand plaited silk braiding, vintage embroideries and appliqué work.
Find the jackets and accessories online and follow on instagram for stories @tamayandme
Tamay and Me will be joining us for the Selvedge Winter Fair this year. 2 for 1 tickets are available, simply enter the code FAIR2FOR1 at the checkout.