Last Thursday, 21st November, we launched our new collection in Bristol. It was a great evening, and a monumental one for our brand, as we welcomed Lucy from Mountain Threads into the fold! Woo hoo!
Lucy's presentation about all the processes was something else. The depth and detail of what, and who, goes into each garment was captivating. Keep your eyes peeled as this information will be up on the 'process' and 'about us' pages of the website shortly.
My introduction to the evening was heartfelt, emotional and a little jumbled, as ever!
This is what I wanted to say : see below
I thought it might be nice to read as a blog - enjoy ...
Welcome everyone ! thank you so much for coming !
It feels great to be back here, there are many faces here who were also in this very room 2 years ago with Tamay !!
Tamay and I’s conversation with everyone that evening was very special, Tamay shared the stories of her textiles, the cultural significance and her wishes for embroidery to continue many years into the future.
We got into the nitty gritty of the all the wonderful things about our unique, micro fashion label, that throws so many conventional fashion norms and ways of working to the wind.
In its small beautiful and imperfect form Tamay & Me felt like a brand that could do things right, by the people and by the land.
The big question we were left with, was how do we expand ?
Why did we need to expand? Because the work for all of us involved doesn’t make enough to sustain us.
Since then I have had a baby and been on the look out for ways to grow.
It feels like it has fallen into my lap, I am extremely grateful. Tamay & I have teamed up with Lucy from Mountain Threads. Lucy is a researcher and collector who also fell in love with the people and the mountains of north Vietnam, she also knew Tamay. I met Lucy online for the first time, infact, when she reached out to help with Tamay’s visa drama to be able to come to the UK. We met up in Vietnam last year and we have been talking and trying to work out whether working together could be the right thing, and over the last 10 months we have been doing it !
Today we are delighted to be here with you all to launch and celebrate our new collection, it feels like we are heading towards being a full blown brand !
I am just going to give those of you who don’t know so much about Tamay & Me a quick overview of how it all started and what we do and then I am going to hand over to lucy who will take you through behind the scenes of the new collection and into the mountains of north Vietnam.
Tamay & Me is founded on Tamay & I’s friendship . When I was 22 I met Tamay in the market of a well know market town, Sapa in North Vietnam, I was travelling at the time. I was interested in Tamay’s embroidery, though to be honest I couldn’t see the stitches or really understand it. Tamay asked me if I wanted to learn how to make it, I said yes and we agreed to meet the next morning when the light was better to get started.
I didn’t realise what I was embarking on but it was a very long and slow process to make this !!
It took a year, I have worked out that it was over 1000 hours, having just finished a degree in anthropology, I wanted to know what it felt like and what it takes to make something beautiful.
What I found was that it is slow and boring, it is devotional and methodical, it is a step by step process of doing things right and well and going back and fixing it when a mistake has been made.
This stuff was life teaching and Tamay & Me as a business is what I could do to say thank you to Tamay for teaching me such wisdom.
Together we came up with making traditional jackets to provide work in age old textile skills.
The aim was to both promote traditional skills and provide paid work for the people who love doing those traditional skills, and so perhaps incentivising traditional elements to continue.
What is brilliant, is the traditional ways are by nature sustainable and so fit perfectly in the ethical fashion world, and the timing is so right to shine the limelight onto these artisans as figureheads of a sustainable way of making cloth and clothes!
Lucy will go into this more as she goes into details behind each piece.
I am going to hand over to you now Lucy, I am delighted that we are able to work together and I am also delighted that you have made it to the UK to talk to us in person and share the new collection!
Over to you !!
Thank you Niki @miss_magpie_spy for the photos.