Amazing hill tribe dress designs and handwoven fabrics in the spotlight!

Ethnic fashion Hill tribe fashion Nuichan Upcycling

Palaung hill tribe woman at a tea plantation in Chiang Rai, Thailand

If you share my passion for travelling this might sound familiar to you. 

It are often the small encounters with strangers and what they do which can have an impact on your life. Recently I discovered, that years ago, I must have secretly fallen in love with the people and culture of Northern Thailand.

The result of this love affair is certainly something which I want to show you, but I also want to share with you how it all came together.

Twenty years ago, Bangkok was already a big, bustling city and I was working a stressful job and certainly not living a 9 to 5 life. A much needed break from the city was needed and I booked a trip up north.

Tea plantation in Chiang Rai, Thailand

Upon arriving in Chiang Rai, I ventured out into the mountains and discovered tiny little villages where the natural, innocent smiles which I received from the elder Hmong ladies and children, touched me and made me forget my stressful existence. This was the first contact with the hill tribe people and it was love at first sight!

Later, when I returned to Bangkok, I started researching the Hmong history and my attention was drawn to their clothes and fabric designs which differ from tribe to tribe. Without a doubt, they are very talented artists and designers hidden well in the beautiful northern mountains.

Collection of hill tribe fabric designs - Thailand.

The more I looked at their textiles, the bigger my love and appreciation grew for their skills. Their patience and talent produce some of the most amazing embroidered details, tiny patchworks on hand-drawn batik patterns, handwoven hemp fabrics and indigo dyed designs.

Embroidered hill tribe fabric | Thailand

At this point, I started collecting these fabrics as I consider them to be art.

Embroidered and batik hill tribe fabric | Thailand

Just sitting and looking at the fabrics can make me happy.

Embroidered hill tribe fabric | Thailand

I started wearing simple tops which I made from those stunning fabrics and proudly showed them off. Receiving many compliments and requests for these tops, made me turn to my sisters who helped me design and produce new styles ranging from dresses, tops, jackets to skirts.

There was some hesitation in the beginning amongst my sisters but once I told them my story and vision, they understood and as they are all professional dressmakers we were soon all on the same track. They definitely deserve their part in this story and process.

Nuichan sisters at work creating new designs from hill tribe fabrics

Most of the designs are made from up-cycled Hmong fabrics, which have become extremely rare and hard to find. Some of the fabrics used are over 20 years old, show some signs of the time gone by, yet are timeless. We carefully sorted, selected, washed and gave them a new life.

Hill tribe fabric designs | Thailand

Almost a year has past now since we started discussing, planning and making new clothes from these Hmong fabrics and we are ready to show them to you.

Hill tribe designs under construction by Nuichan

You can find our creations in the tribal clothing section and I would be more than happy to answer any of your questions or provide more information. So don’t hesitate to contact me.

Anyone doubting about wearing secondhand fabrics or up-cycled clothes, I hope our designs can find a place in your heart and you want to share this love too.

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