Husband and Wife team Huong and Keith Symington are based in Hoi An, Vietnam, with their two daughters and various mammals, reptiles and invertebrates. In this magical town overflowing with local creativity they have established an outlet showcasing Fashion, Accessories and Home Decor sustainably produced by Ethnic Minority groups of North Vietnam.
Vietnamese Designer Huong had seen the steady erosion of a rich cultural heritage among ethnic minority groups in Vietnam, as well as increasing threats to traditional environmentally-friendly textile processing, and wanted to do something to help. She wanted to apply her creative design skills and her interest in community stewardship to develop a line of products that do not leave a mess in their trail and provide overall socio-economic and environmental benefits to local producer villages.
Originally from Canada, Huong's Husband Keith has been an advisor to the Vietnamese Government on Sustainable Supply Chains and has worked with the World Wildlife Fund since 2004. Combining their two backgrounds Huong and Keith founded Villagecraft Planet in 2012.
Villagecraft Planet have partnered with artisans from ethnic minority groups in the North of Vietnam including the Hmong of Ha Giang (Hemp and embroidered products) and Sapa (Indigo products). For centuries these communities have been producing hemp to make garments, utilising the natural indigo plant as a dye and producing other materials using traditional methods.
After several trips up North meeting the minorities, Keith and Huong built strong friendships with the makers of these beautiful traditional gaments, and they decided to work with them to create a fusion between the very colorful traditional garments and Huong’s own vision in making more contemporary designs, blending the colors, tones and shapes in different ways. Most of the items that are created have symbols with cultural meanings of life, family and prosperity.
Keith believes the future economic development of the Ethnic minority groups and their cultural preservation rests heavily on the sustainability of local production.
We are thrilled to be including Ethically Produced Hemp Bags and Hemp Home Decor from the Hmong People who have partnered with Huong and Keith. For us these items have a distinct Vietnamese style that evokes memories of travelling through this fascinating country whilst simultaneously showcasing contemporary design and modern practicalities. Please take time to read the stories behind each product.
Hemp can be grown without pesticides, it needs a fraction of the land needed to grow cotton and requires 50% less water