Melbourne Designer Cynthia Mann, and her business partner Rebecca Hales, are based in Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam. Future Traditions grew out of Cynthia’s love for Vietnamese ethnic minority textiles.
Future Traditions works directly with local communities to create new markets for ‘at risk’ handicrafts. The result: unique pieces of locally made batik, indigo hemp street wear, jewellery and bags.
Sourcing textiles from the remote mountain communities in Ha Giang, Hoa Binh, Lao Cai and Lai Chau provinces, Future Traditions seeks to encourage an appreciation for the skill involved in creating the beautiful and varied fabrics produced in these areas, by featuring them in a range of contemporary clothing and the accessory designs featured here.
The long term goal of Future Traditions is to make the continued production of these increasingly rare textiles financially viable for local communities.
Cynthia and Rebecca have complete involvement in the production chain, from working in the mountains with the textile makers through to the finished product. Working directly with women from ethnic minority communities in Northern Vietnam, their traditional handcrafted batik, applique, weaving and embroidery is used to make beautiful bags or as a feature on the shrug; the essential lady's accessory that is a cotton jersey scarf and bolero in one.
Also drawn to Vietnam’s beautiful coast line, Cynthia designs the sterling silver jewellery in the Treasures Collection, handmade from fragments of ceramics which have washed up on the shore. Some pieces are the remnants of discarded broken plates tossed overboard by local fishermen. Other pieces come from the many trading ships that were wrecked off the coast in the 18th and 19th centuries. Each piece is a one off and unique.
Collected on many beachcombing expeditions, one can only imagine the stories behind each piece of the ocean-polished ceramics found washed up along the coast of Vietnam – are they fragments from the cargo of one of the shipwrecks which date as far back as the 13th century, intended for trade in Europe? Or broken and discarded crockery from which the sailors ate? Or simply part of a bowl or plate or cup lost overboard from the many fishermen’s boats working these waters…Whatever the story of these fragments each piece has been given a new lease of life through the silver jewellery showcased here.If you've travelled through Vietnam, and been as awestruck as we have, by the cultural richness, colours and beauty of this remarkable country the Future Traditions range of Bags, Shrugs and Treasures Jewellery is sure to take you right back.