It’s funny as it may sound but it took me 6 months for me to find the right words to create this blog and share my life-changing experience with TextileSeekers last February in Sa Pa Vietnam.
First, I would like to start on how well organized is Thao and her team on creating this special trip and making a detailed schedule for us who will experience Slow Travel and Slow Fashion from the different tribes of Sa Pa Vietnam.
This luxury tour of TextileSeekers founded by Thao Phuong is something that came to me as a surprise, when I was having a lot of troubles and chaos in Dubai UAE this came up to me as a blessing in disguise. I went to Sa Pa bringing my fragile heart not expecting anything from the trip although, Thao from Textile Seekers gave us the schedule prior to the upcoming trip. It all happened when Covid 19 Pandemic started to spread outside of China and the numbers who were positive with the virus started to grow.
When I came to Hanoi, Vietnam a luxury van picks me at the airport and drop me to the boutique hotel together with other members of the TextileSeekers group.
On our day 1 and 2 in Hanoi Vietnam, TextileSeekers has organised a trip to Ms. Tinh on her studio, she taught us on how to produce exquisite pieces like scarfs, table runners, tops and cover up’s using Silk Weaving.
We also visited the Women’s Museum where we explored the different costumes, embroidered clothes, and fabrics plus the importance of women in Vietnam and their roles. As we get along with our trip, we also visited 54 Traditions Gallery wherein we get to know some of the stories and history of textiles, fabrics, tribes, ancient relics, and some special antiques from different centuries in Vietnam.
On our day 3, we ride a private van for a five hour trip to Sa Pa in Vietnam. The journey starts at Topas Ecolodge where we will spend our upcoming days searching for the finest textiles, tribes and discover ancient traditions in Sa Pa Vietnam. I don’t know how will I explain into words the beauty of Sa Pa Vietnam and the location of Topas Ecolodge. I feel like I was in a fairytale or a movie finding my inner strength in a new place away from the usual busy city I was used to.
I am very emotional as I start looking at the beauty of the place. Thao of TextileSeekers was looking at me and she saw the happiness on my face. Thao made me comfortable since Day 1 and without her guidance, I don’t know if I would have finished the trip. It was a heavy trip for me because it is a week before my flight to Paris fashion week before I head on a new journey in Barcelona, Spain. By the way, Thao is from Barcelona, that is why when she contacted me I knew that this trip is going to be special and it is meant for me to prepare myself for something bigger.
On the third day, we went hiking for almost an hour into the mountains to visit the Red Dao tribe and meet Ms. Tamay. She is like the leader or spokesperson of the group and she welcomed us with a warm smile and sweet voice.
As we enter Ms. Tamay’s house the whole family and other women of Red Dao welcomed us and they showed us how to create natural dye from trunks, leaves, roots, and different branches from another mountain which is nearby to the area. This experience showed how resiliency can go far and use creativity to make something beautiful plus the sustainability side of the whole process. As Thao always mentions to us, it is all part of the fashion ecosystem and slow fashion movement, moreover, Red Dao tribe also showed us how to do hand-stitching and techniques on their embroideries which is something the fashion industry needs to see and start to develop.
I never imagined that watching the women of Red Dao Tribe do their techniques on hand stitching, cooking fresh vegetables they handpicked from their backyard, creating their outfits, and selling their designs made from passion and attention to detail.
Although, It breaks my heart knowing that I couldn’t do anything to help them but using my platform to spread awareness and to help them sell their designs. They made me realize a lot of things most especially, how Thao curated the trip very organised and how she made it sure that we will bring memories that will last forever.
I also want to acknowledge my sister on this trip Sashabila Mus, she is my roommate and my go-to girl whenever I need to understand something clearly. She made me feel that I am enough. This trip is so special because of people like Sasha, Thao, Ms. Thin, Ms. Tamay, and the tribes that made it possible for us to learn something new.
On the days remaining in Sa Pa, Vietnam Thao introduced as to Black Hmong Tribe they are known for Batik Indigo. They taught us how to do Batik Indigo using Hemp. Hemp fabric is the common fabric that Black Hmong are using for dyeing; this kind of practice and technique is something that I can introduce to young designers who can elevate fabrics dyed in Batik Indigo and create pieces that can be good to match with denim.
My Fierce verdict for this trip is something that I will put on every bucket list for someone who loves fashion, sustainability, textile, and a once in a lifetime experience. Thao Phuong and TextileSeekers made a luxury brand that can speak volumes and touch many lives. A once in a lifetime trip that will touch your heart and will open your eyes to new things. This trip made me pursue my passion and studies of Fashion Sustainability. Finally, I highly recommend this for anyone who wants change, experience slow travel and practice slow fashion.
A Fierce Trip with TextileSeekers!