The beautiful ‘Daily Jacket’ from Tamay & Me is a homage to traditional skills, handmade fabrics and the talents of local craftspeople in a small village called Tapin in Northern Vietnam.
Each individual jacket has been handmade from scratch, beginning with the planting and growing of the cotton. Following this long process is the harvesting, the beating and storing of the material, and the spinning and weaving of the cotton into fabric, which is then dipped into handmade fermented indigo between 6 and 21 times. It is this dipping process that gives the cloth varying degrees of colour depth, from mid-blue to deep dark indigo.
Believe it or not, this is just the beginning, because after the fabric has been made, Tamay (after whom the brand is inspired and named), drives three hours up to the village to collect the fabric directly from the producers. She then returns to her village, and with a small team of highly skilled sewers using both electric machines and hand-sewing methods, they together make the ‘Tamay & Me’ Jackets. These are highly traditional representations of the skill-set of the people of the village, most of whom are Mien - a subset of the Yao people, a minority group originally from China, who were displaced around 500 years ago.
The future of these traditional skills is uncertain. In the last ten years, homes in the village have been connected to electricity, people now have rice cookers, lighting and smart phones. Children are now all entitled to free education and vast numbers of tourists visit the region each day. Life in the mountains is changing fast and the wish of Tamay and the rest of their team of sewers is that the textile traditions can be maintained and passed onto future generations.
Tamay & Me have created flexible work in the area that fits within a traditional way of life, preserving the talents of the local people. Their aim is to support the traditional way of life and the textiles whilst at the same time bringing stronger financial freedom and a sense of pride in sharing their heritage.
The Prior Team is thrilled to stock such beautiful, meaningful pieces of art and heritage. Along with the Field Jackets, we've also been lucky enough to begin stocking handmade indigo cushions made from the same material as the jackets.
The pieces we stock from Tamay & Me can be seen here
Written by Florence Williams