This black top was hand-woven by the Dong people. It is made of a basic cotton fabric that can be found in the homes of every ethnic minority in Guizhou province. Natural indigo and green persimmon are combined to achieve the black dye.
The neckline is trimmed with hand-pounded metal pieces showing Miao mythological motifs of dragons, half-men / half-birds, and sacred dogs.
The diamond-pattern fabric developed for this jacket was originally inspired by the traditional indigo-dyed cotton version of the Buyi minority tribe in the south of Guizhou. In this modernized version, Miao fabric masters re-wove the pattern using silk thread in our training program workshop in Dimen village.
The silk worms for the fabric were raised in the homes of Miao villagers between the months of April and June, when they can be fed the fresh leaves of the local mulberry trees.
The fabric was then dyed black by a Miao dye master using a special tree bark found in the mountain forest. The bark was removed during the month of August when it will not harm the tree.
The belt was adapted from indigo-dyed wax-resist cotton panels from Basha Village normally worn as a sign of marriage on their Miao pleated skirts. These panels are intricately hand-drawn over two weeks using a quill pen made from a chicken feather.
Above look credits: Sunny Lee (photographer), Yi Guo (stylist)