My Bags are called HMONG Bags, but What is Hmong?
I hope to provide some answers to the question What is Hmong with the below article without going into a great detail about the (ancient) History of the Hmong People.
What is Hmong?
Hmong are people, they are also known as Hill Tribes. The Hmong People are an ethnic group living in East and Southeast Asia. They belong to Miao people, making them a sub-group of this particular tribe. The Miao people mainly live in Southern China. The Hmong moved from Southern China (where they were traditionally paddy rice farmers) to escape persecution and pacification campaigns, as they were known for being rebellious, gradually migrating through Vietnam and Laos, into Thailand. The latest “wave” of migration of Hmong people came to Thailand after the uprise against the communist regime in Laos failed and the Hmong, who were fighting against the regime, had to flee the country.
Today many Hmong people are dispersed throughout the world and live not only in China, Vietnam, Laos and Thailand but also in different countries outside of (South East) Asia, namely in the United States of America, France, Australia and other countries.
As we all know, many groups of people, a Tribe, or even a Community of people, are mostly known for their Uniqueness. This Uniqueness is brought about by their way of life, their traditions, their ways of worshipping, the food they eat, how they consume it and even more so by the clothes they wear.
The Hmong people have managed to represent themselves fully when it comes to staying true on maintaining their ways of life.
Their skills in traditional textile fabrication “Hmong Textile Art” is fascinating.
Their embroidery work consists of bold geometric designs often realized in bright contrasting colors. Different colors of the models of these clothes represent certain geographical regions and cultural subdivisions within the global Hmong community. The textiles, ranging in size up to several square feet, represent narratives from the history of Hmong people.
The Hmong dress in colorful traditional clothes which are made from their homemade fabrics. To many people this is fascinating and their way of dressing has attracted the attention of a lot of people who consider this as a beautiful form of Art.
According to Hmong people, embroidery and colored clothes often tell a story. The stark contrasts of color indicates the period in time as well as the geographic region where the textiles were made. The use of It was mainly done because the language they speak was not alphabetized. Today they are unmistakably recognizable due to the characteristic features of indigo batik and bright colored embroidery.
The world is changing at a fast pace
Due to the assimilation and acculturation that occurs due to migration to other countries, the culture sometimes changes and you will find people trying to mix two cultures in order not to forget where they came from or to maintain their heritage for the coming generation.
The Hmong people who migrated to other countries have tried to maintain their heritage by continuing to dress their traditional clothes. Some of their artwork have found their way in the market, mostly in women way of dressing. The unique design of the colors has attracted many women from across all sorts of life. The mixture of different colors and the fact that they are handcrafted is what adds to the interest and fascination for these types of clothing.
The fabrics used by the Hmong people, as mentioned earlier, was significant in the way that it relayed a message by the use of different symbols or the colors used were a representation of a particular community among the Hmong people. The fabrics are hand made from dried cotton or hemp and embroidered or hand stitched with traditional motifs. They are manually processed to produce the materials required to carry out the embroidery.
They are typically from Hemp, Flax or Cotton, rectangular-shaped panels of fabric serve as means of carrying babies from both behind and front. The use of these fabrics is an indication of the authenticity of the handmade products. The patterns are taught and memorized to the younger generation who learn the art from the mother and its mandatory for them to learn it because the tradition dictates that Hmong girls should learn the craft of embroidery and sewing.
Hmong girls are taught weaving, stitching and embroidery at an early age. The first 2 important items that they will make for themselves are the wedding dress and the Baby Carrier. ethnic groups consider women sewing skills to be more important than their beauty.
Indigenous people don’t follow trends and don’t see the need for filling their wardrobes with mass-produced products; they keep original and traditional. For generations, they have maintained the same sense of style. The women who make the clothes have created their motifs by relying solely on their imagination as well as observing the beautiful things around them. The patterns are embroidered color by color, from dark to light until the entire surface of the textile is filled.
The Handmade Hmong Bags
My Handmade Hmong Bags, made from recycled baby carriers and Hmong Handmade Fabrics, make a perfect and unique not to mention a meaningful gift for a friend or relative, even more so for the women who is expecting or who has a baby. The challenge finding Hmong Baby Carriers, that are the base for my Handmade Bags, is that Hmong women hand make the Baby Carrier for their own child and the used, mostly Vintage Baby Carriers, are meanwhile a Collectors Item that is well sought after. On the other hand, Hmong people are looking for a better life in the cities and their skills are no longer used or passed onto the next generation. Therefore less and less Baby Carriers are made and of course less can be found.
The Hmong people artwork is taking the market by storm. In today’s world, these fabrics are well sought after items because they are made of natural components and this means they are environmentally friendly and they last longer. This gives it a head start of Bags that are made using chemical components or method of fabrication. The bags are also very strong as you can imagine that it has been used to carry babies up to small children.
Women all over the world are loving the Handmade Hmong Bags produced from Recycled Baby Carriers and Handmade Fabrics as they are Vintage items, they each have a story to tell, also called “soul” and are durable items. Another interesting fact is that the Bags you can find at My Chic Ethnic Shop have a touch of luxury due to the use of Leather Shoulder Straps, which adds a touch of luxury and makes the Bag even more Beautiful.
Who wouldn’t want something Unique, Handcrafted and very colorful? So, ladies, you can grab yourself a bag too!
The Hmong Bags come in different sizes and styles, ranging Purses, Clutch Bags, Shoulder Bags, Tote Bags, Cross body bags. In the western world these type of Bags are meanwhile known under other names as Hobo Bags, Boho Bags, Hippie bag, Ethnic bags, just but to mention a few.
Traditions and cultures will always be part of us for as long as they are sustained by passing on to the next generation(s). The best we can do is to embrace the ones that are still around as they are of great importance, to hope that they will be the ones that will be here for the generations to come. The practice of hand making textiles, Weaving, Stitching and Embroidery has become an apprenticeship over age to generations among Hmong people, and the art of making fabrics is an important aspect of their life. For the Hmong living in the United States an initiative has been started to preserve the art of textile and clothing making as with the new way of life, buying mass produced clothing has become the norm and an important piece of their culture and tradition is at risk to disappear.