The Red Dao minority living in northern Vietnam. They belong to the family of the Dao ethnic group, called Yao worldwide. The Red Dao are one of the 54 ethnic groups that are officially recognized in Vietnam. Their origin is uncertain but they are believed to have arrived not long before the H'mong tribes during the 18th Century.
Cotton dyed naturally with Indigo dye and hand stitched meticulously with designs based on their memories of the nature and surroundings such as trees, stars, animals, birds, rice fields & village life.
The colors and motifs do vary from garment to garment.
Traditional technique for extraordinary embroidery:
Embroidery is a very important part of the Red Dao culture. Most Dao girls begin learning this technique from their mothers at the young age of 7-8. It is complex and time-consuming. Each section of clothing is embroidered separately and then the whole garment is assembled with additional pieces of indigo cloth. Embroidery plays an important role in perpetuating Dao identity through her ability to reproduce exactly the patterns which they developed over generations.
A Red Dao woman’s outfit includes a colorfully-embroidered long blouse, apron, pants, as well as embroidered accessories. Just a jacket can take from 2-5 months to make and a full set of clothes may take several months to a year to complete.
Men wear a short jacket with embroidered cuffs and the luy tan, which is a rectangle in the upper back, and embroidered headscarves.
Now connected to the modern world, the mountain life has been changing fast. By promoting the Red Dao culture & garments we aim to support them in keeping their traditions alive so those beautiful embroideries keep being passed over through generations to come.