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Love Story: Dearest Jacket

Dearest jacket, Thank you for your beauty. The pinks the blues and and all your hues. You are so soft and gentle. You remind me of the time I spent in Vietnam back in 2008, the months I spent with Tamay and the extraordinary process of sitting and sewing for hours and hours. You helped me to come of age. You have taken me though my hippy years when I rejected the society I came from and back again into womanhood and eventually home. You have inspired me to accept some things as they are and given me the courage to change the things I can. You represent how slowly slowly stitch by stitch I can make a difference. I...

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#BeBoldForChange

Tamay & Me is an almost all women business ...   (We do have 1 man on the team.)   For me, the Dzao woman represents the ancient woman. It is magnificent to see in real life.  I have always romanticised the ancient woman.  A connected woman. A strong woman.   The Dzao women are strong. They are proud. They rule the roost at home. Almost all of them are the breadwinners. Dzao women get up between 3-4 am each day. They are farmers. They are the most exceptional embroiderers. They make their own clothes. They have lots of kids. They look after their elderly. They cook healthy fresh food everyday. They chat and gossip. They move through each day...

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Ethical fashion. What the Dzao have to contribute to this growing movement.

The Dzao people live and breathe ethical. In the West, we are trying to re-find a way of wearing clothes that don't cost the earth. The Dzao have been doing it for centuries in the most beautiful way.    The Dzao make their own clothes. They make them with pride to show off their skills and their identity. Every year a Dzao woman will make themselves a new set of clothes. A pair of trousers covered in embroidery and a jacket with the finest tail piece, sleeve embroidery and a panel of embroidery on the back. The embroidery is their finest tradition. It enables them to identified as Dzao.   When they go to the market, when they are on...

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A time of change. Globalisation - internet - transparency - ethics - quality - community.

In the 8 year time period that I have known the Dzao their lives have catapulted from an ancient world with no electricity in their homes, access to only local foods, mostly all homegrown and raised, handmade clothing and a completely independent cultural community with their own practices and beliefs. To the modern Asia, internet, smartphones, washing machines, rice-cookers, education, an intertwined community with modern Vietnam and hunger for money.    Sapa is one huge construction site, Taphin too. Everyone here is trying to make a buck. Hotels, shops, tour packages, more. The desire for a modern (plastic, shiny and fantastic) world is rife, everyone wants it. Everyone wants change, everyone wants to have more. It is ferocious and extraordinary...

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Kids the Dzao way. The importance of getting dirty, endless play and going to school.

Kids are absolutely central to Dzao culture (alongside embroidery).   Usually babies are born at home with the help of the mother- in-law. This, for most, sounds nightmarish, it perhaps is.. "the first is always most difficult!" Tamay would say to me.  Women just seem to do it. Just as we all do, but here though there are no books, no fancy gadgets, no worries. Babes are held close, so close for months. They are never put down. They are either on mumma's back, or on someone else's back or being played with by mum or grandma or auntie or dad or grandpa or the shop keeper or an old friend. They are never left alone, not until they can...

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