This breezy braided-back tank is made from a cotton and silk blend gauze handwoven at our training program workshop in Dimen village. The silk was raised in the homes of nearby villagers, and the naturally organic cotton was grown locally.
Due to the delicate fine thread and gentle touch required to maintain its lightweight hand, it will take an entire day to weave 3 meters of narrow-width fabric (40 cm wide). The fabric was then boiled in water and washed with a mineral finish to give it a dry feel. The hand-pounded metal pieces show Miao mythological motifs of dragons, a half-men / half-birds, and sacred dogs.
For the pants, the indigo-dyed cotton damask fabric was traditionally used for baby carriers and blankets. The symbolic iconography of zig-zag lines and geometric birds both protects its wearer and tells the migration of the indigenous people across China over the last millennium.
It took me one year of searching village-to-village to find someone who could hand-weave this damask fabric for the collection. A local expert found this older woman in Zhaoxing Village; she is one of only three grandmothers in the village who still retains the know-how of how to weave this pattern. It will take her 30 days to re-weave enough fabric for this pair of pants.
Above look credits: Sunny Lee (photographer), Yi Guo (stylist)