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Joshua K. & Andrew T.

United States > > > with Thao, Vietnam

It all started when...

Having heard of Thao's fashion line before VAWAA, I was very excited to know that Thao was opening up some of her textile practice to the global public. My goal was to understand better how a designer on the other side of the globe was able to make ecologically sound and socially just decisions within their region, while also maintaining a successful business. Having worked some with natural dyes, I know everyone has their own process and that there would be a lot to learn from techniques passed down through generations. I was hoping to ratify some of my knowledge, while simplifying some processes, using less chemicals and mordants. Overall, my goal was to blow my mind and experience something a bit out of my comfort zone while learning about what I love!

It is difficult to describe the idiosyncrasies of creation - small details that can be picked up only through immersion in a particular task. That is why it was so great to experience some of Thao's brand process up close. The day I returned from Vietnam, I planted indigo from Cao Bang, in hopes of dyeing fabric with indigo grown in Wisconsin. As well, I am hoping to incorporate some of the fabrics and yarn that we dyed in Cao Bang into a collection that I am working on, in the slow development of my own brand. Being able to see the full circle process of a functioning apparel brand with strong ethical standards was so deeply inspiring. The biggest takeaway for me is that the world of fashion is changing - transparency is not enough, ethical action has to be taken and Thao is at the forefront of this change and showing new possibilities. I have been inspired to work harder and focus deeply on my end goal with ethical fashion.

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