Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — A multi-media exhibition exploring the relationship between traditional crafts and contemporary design will open to the public on Thurday in Hà Nội.
Hà Nội-based fashion brand Kilomet 109’s collection is called Phiêu, which loosely translates to "Unburdened Journey".
The exhibition is organised as part of the British Council’s "New for Old" initiative, a research residency that took place across Southeast Asia in December 2016, bringing together academics, artisans and contemporary creative practitioners to “find ways of looking backwards while moving forwards.”
The idea behind the Phiêu collection is to “extract the essence of tried and tested knowledge and update it to fit contemporary design aesthetics and production”. For Kilomet 109 and its founder and principal designer Thảo Vũ, this has resulted in clothes that have woven into their fabric a continuation of traditional dyeing, weaving, and calendering techniques from four ethnic minority groups in northern Việt Nam who Thảo has been working with for the last year.
Thảo works closely with the artisans to both learn from and teach them in return.
“I don’t know how long I will work with the artisans, and I need to make sure that it is sustainable, that they value their own culture, and that they feel confident in making new designs if one day I leave,” she said.
Along with British Council researchers, Thảo sat down with local artisans to learn about their everyday practice, how craft shapes their lives, families, and the communities around them, and what they are hoping to gain from spending hours every day crafting the fabrics.
The New for Old research team documented the work of eight artisans in the mountainous regions of Hòa Bình and Lào Cai and the various aspects of fabric production.
The exhibition is complemented with work from other creative disciplines: black and white photography by Nic Shonfeld, illustrations and prints of the natural materials and tools used in the process by Claire Driscoll, a short documentary film made from field footage put together by Phạm Mai Phương and a commissioned piece of music composed by Nguyễn Xuân Sơn.
Phiêu will open from 6pm tomorrow until May 3 at the Hà Nội Old Quarter Culture Exchange Centre, 50 Đào Duy Từ Street. The free entrance exhibition opens daily, from 10am to 7pm. — VNS