After returning from Cambodia and Thailand just a few weeks ago, I’m finding that I am EVEN more than usually inspired by intricate Eastern embroidery, tribal prints, Rajasthani beading and a distinctly bold use of colour….and to my pleasure, it seems to be coming through in so many Spring 2013 collections. From the high-street delights of H&M, to a relatively new higher end label; Thu Thu, we seem to be seeing Eastern traditional fabrics, prints and stunning embroidery inspiration everywhere!
Thuy Duong Ngyen, the designer behind emerging label Thu Thu, was born in Vietnam but moved to Berlin, Germany at a very young age and evidently her collection draws inspiration from both Eastern and Western heritage. Thuy cleverly blends her inspiration from the two countries, by using colourful traditional fabrics from the Sapa region of Vietnam, and creates clean line, slightly ‘tough’ and ‘edgy’ clothing…not only do I LOVE this idea of merging two distinctly different styles, but Thuy also works with the native women of the Hmong Ethnic Group, helping to create work and subsequently an income for them.
I mentioned in my previous post that I had been ‘moved’ by my recent visit to Cambodia, in particular by a trip out to the floating village of Tonle Sap Lake, which lead me onto thinking about ‘giving back’ in some way…most of us complain about the smallest of things and our ‘problems’ would probably seem like blessings to many people facing severe poverty…We are so incredibly lucky and blessed and we just don’t realise it half the time, so it was great, (whilst also somewhat sad) to give myself a reality check and to see how some people are unfortunately faced with living. I haven’t quite figured out how, or in which way I plan to ‘give back’ but it’s something that has really struck me as important at this point in my life, and has been gurgling about in my mind ever since… It’s strange to have a passion and love for something that in many ways, is so fickle and unnecessary – the fashion industry generally, and to simultaneously have an inner calling to contribute something that helps others, whilst also creating a profession and income for yourself… It made me think about the comments from a few of my friends who are already designers and are on the brink of creating their own labels, but held back by their internal struggle with the question ‘does the world really need another label?’… I’m not sure where these thoughts will lead me, but it’s an interesting point to get to in your life where it seems crucial to create something that aids more than just yourself! With all this in mind, I love the way designers like Thuy Duong Ngyen of Thu Thu, are finding a way to integrate this concept of contribution into their collections, and wonder where it will lead me in my decisions!?
I’ve put together a montage of some of the pieces that I’m loving available online or in stores at the moment, focussing on the theme of ‘Eastern influence’…I think the key to rocking this look without looking like you just arrived back from 6 months backpacking around Asia, (no offence intended to those who just have but sometimes the pieces you buy abroad, are out of context back in your ‘day to day life’ if they aren’t styled well!) is to mix tribal, printed, embellished, embroidered pieces with some solid colour basics.. e.g team your ‘Eastern inspired’ pieces back with a great pair of denim shorts, or a leather skirt, or some plain colour stretch twill pants, or a khaki Jacket etc, etc..