The soothingness of The Ramie Ao dai

In this concert “ Our Ao Dai ”, the dress which was designed by designer Minh Hanh attracted different types of people. Although different from silk but this fabric also gives the wearer a soft, elegant and supple look. The more beautiful Ao Dai is, the more beautiful you receive related to Vietnamese cultural.

Designers Minh Hanh and Mrs. Do Thi Thuy at the launching ceremony of “ Our Ao Dai ” program – Ao dai they were wearing was made of ramie fabric.

“Our Ao Dai” is a program within the framework of the “Vietnamese Heritage Ao Dai” campaign launched by the Vietnam Women’s Union Central Committee with the desire to make the Ao Dai as a World Cultural Heritage and a symbol of Vietnamese women in the modern era. The Ao Dai collections participating in the show are made of traditional Vietnamese materials such as silk and especially ramie, which has been a forgotten traditional material for many years and has been revived. These traditional Vietnamese materials contribute to a strong impression of ethnic origin on the Ao Dai.

From a cross – talk 

In order to understand the ramie fabric of Ao Dai, we may have to go back a little bit in 2018 when ramie first appeared in Vietnam Fashion Week Spring-Summer 2018. New applications of Vietnam’s traditional and natural materials have emerged during this Fashion Week, where ramie cloth is one of them.

At that time, the designer Minh Hanh – Head of the Organizing Committee of Vietnam Fashion Week Spring Summer 2018 said: It can be confirmed that spring summer 2018 is the season of Vietnamese materials. Most of the collections are selected by the designers from traditional materials, which are naturally sourced. Through these designs, it is clear that the designers has made efforts to explore and combine with artists and manufacturers to create natural materials that meet the needs of the fashion market.”

The materials of Nam Cao silk, Nhat Minh silk, Bao Loc silk, Nha Xa silk, Thien An – Quang Ngai ramie, An Phuoc ramie… are the basis for us to grow stronger in creating precious materials for high – end fashion. This also shows that the richness and quality of traditional Vietnamese fabrics are more advanced. With global consumption trends, natural materials are on the rise due to high adaptability and environmental cleanliness.”

Following the story of ramie associated with Vietnamese fashion, Designer Minh Hanh told a story:” I happened to visit Quang Ngai by chance to find new materials, I met a provincial leader and heard him confide, when he was young he often saw his mother take ramie to patch clothes for everyone in the family. I was very surprised when he was led me to the weaving families because the people here are still spines.

The story of ramie expanded when I visited Thanh Hoa province and knew An Phuoc Company had just invested VND 1,000 billion to grow ramie with 7,000 hectares. Ramie is a fast harvesting industrial plant with a lifespan of about 10 years, for 4 harvests a year. The ramie is not moldy, very strong and above all the cost is only 1/8 of the silk”.

“So far, it’s optimistic to say that we have found sustainable materials for Vietnamese fashion. Because Vietnamese fashion has been heavily dependent on materials from other countries. Our textile industry is in zero, low market share is not enough for fashion. Having creativity without material also fails.The core value is that if there is fashion without materials, it is not ethnic identity anymore, fashion without materials is a failure” – Designer Minh Hanh emphasized.

Ramie – “ A pretty friendly and pleasant girl ”

In Vietnam, few people know that silk has long been a traditional material for making clothes. But the fabric was recently awakened and revived by the designers.

At the premiere of ” Our Ao Dai “, there was a small woman who was “ forced ”to the stage by designer Minh Hanh. That’s Ms. Hong Thuy Do. Ms. Thuy is a woman who has spent 15 years hiding to study putting ramie into food (Use ramie leaves as ingredients) and turning ramie fiber into a textile material into linen, a new material in the fashion industry. Ms. Hong Thuy Do now has a large factory processing and weaving ramie in Thanh Hoa. Her ramie trees are grown in many provinces to help alleviate poverty for ethnic groups.

At the premiere, in an interview, NTK Minh Hanh said: “Perhaps no one knows, for more than a decade Ms. Thuy has had to fumble and shudder to produce ramie. In particular, people are familiar with the ramie leaves being used as cakes, but the stem used for weaving is not known to everyone. With the revival of that seemingly forgotten ancient material, I often cheerfully call Ms. Thuy as the “ancestor” of Vietnamese ramie. Ms. Thuy currently has a manufacturing plant in Thanh Hoa with a production of 5,000 hectares of ramie per year. This has brought new value to Vietnamese ramie as entering the market”.

According to designer Minh Hanh, 15 collections that were introduced during the “ Our Ao Dai ” on the evening of April 9 at the Temple of Literature – Quoc Tu Giam all use traditional fabrics of ramie and silk. “These materials give us strong conviction and certainty that Vietnamese fashion will grow. Both silk and ramie are traditional materials. The characteristics of each product have its own value. If silk is considered to be a beautiful, softly, naughty, very expensive and luxurious girl, then ramie are quite friendly and pleasant girl.

When I wear clothes made from ramie, I don’t have to take care of it much and it’s easy to wash. As far as the quality of the linen is concerned, I can confirm that it exceeds my expectations. I used to say to Thuy: “You keep trying, after the rain it is still dirty, so you still have to make ramie until the end of full strength. It can be said that in Vietnam, we have never had such a proud material. In traditional materials, ramie is a heritage with a core of normative and friendly values ” – said by designer Minh Hanh.

From the everyday life to the stage

Also related to ramie, there was a story while ago that a cooperative group of 7 members of enterprises and scientists jointly implemented the project “Mastering the technology of growing and processing high-quality yarn from ramie for the textile and garment industry with a capacity of 2,500 tons per year” to open up opportunities to actively source raw materials for the textile and garment industry, while promoting the three-state linkage model: State, scientists, enterprises in research and production.

It is known that the textile and garment industry is one of the main export sectors of Vietnam. However, in order to maintain the steady growth of the textile and garment industry, Vietnam imports about 80 – 85% (equivalent to nearly 1 million tons per year) of cotton materials, ramie used for fabric production each year. In particular, about 70% of imported natural ramie fibres are used to weave premium ramie fabrics.

Meanwhile, ramie has been cultivated in our country for a long time, in accordance with soil and climate. But the volume of cotton, the yarn woven from ramie in the country is still limited. Ramie is grown mainly for bakery leaves, bark for hand-woven yarn, terracotta, the quality and patterns are not yet exquisite. In other words, Vietnam’s ramie processing industry has not developed commensurate with the consumer market and the abundant potential to develop stable raw materials for the textile and garment industry.

With the goal of proactively sourcing raw materials for the textile and garment industry, creating premium fabrics for export, the project “Mastering the technology of growing and processing high-quality yarns from ramie for the textile and garment industry with a capacity of 2,500 tons per year” has been approved by the Ministry of Science and Technology. The project was implemented from January 2017 to December 2018 and aims to master the technology in a closed chain from breeding, cultivation on an industrial scale to processing yarn from ramie for the textile and garment industry.

In 2017, AP1 ramie was experimentally planted on an area of 200 hectares in 12 western districts of Thanh Hoa province, helping to create jobs for hundreds of local workers. It is expected that after the project is completed, the cooperative team will master the technological process from breeding, cultivation techniques with a yield of 30 tons/hectares/harvest, widely adaptable, resistant to pests and adverse conditions of the environment.

In addition, the team will implement the ramie planting area with an area of 3,000 hectares to serve the fiber processing factory with a capacity of 2,500 tons/year, at the same time perfecting and mastering the technology of production line and processing fiber from high quality ramie plants; take advantage of by-products from ramie stems to serve the production of packaging, self-destructing canned food and take advantage of hemp leaves as bioorganic fertilizer…

Remembering at the Vietnam Fashion Week in the spring and summer of 2018, designer Minh Hanh, which is still known as a pioneer in the search for materials for Vietnamese fashion, once confided in what made her feel regret.

It is a lot of regret, especially precious materials such as Bao Loc silk (Lam Dong) which is the material rated by the world to meet the highest standards, but now this material has been consumed by Italian and Japanese companies. Vietnamese people are very rare to wear and the price is high. We also have cotton plants, but in comparison, Vietnam’s cotton cannot be the same as India’s; we have silk, but China’s silk is much more advanced…

The fashion market in our country is very developed, but we are wearing bad clothes, not safe for health. Eating and wearing always go hand in hand, all countries aim to eat and dress safely, ensure health and environmental sanitation. Through the story of the new material, this is a very important part in determining where Vietnamese fashion is. The more precious the material, the more fashion has an influence.

Hopefully with ramie, Ao Dai made from ramie will help Vietnamese fashion to raise its own authentic voice…


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