When we were in Laos in January we discovered a pb book authored and illustrated by a Japanese man about the entire process of how a traditional Hmong skirt is made. Every handmade Hmong skirt is a true work of art, like the one featured in our photo above. The process to make a Hmong skirt in long and complex and one that traditionally many Hmong girls and women would master, for wearing their own handmade skirt was a demonstration of their skill and expertise in the art of paj ntaub. Many people don't know that the skirts are traditionally made from hemp and the process of creating weavable fabric from Hemp fibers is a difficult and time-consuming one.
So what we did was create an album of photos from each page of the pb book on our Facebook page. Unfortunately the book is not for sale and was only made for distribution to schools and libraries in Laos. We were told that the man who wrote the book spent a year in the Hmong village you see on one of the pages. That's dedication and is indicative of how much the Japanese strongly support Lao textile traditions.
The fabric on these traditional skirts is now being bought up by traders and made into fashionable purses and bags seen for sale in places like the evening market in Luang Prabang. A photo of one of the pages showing children wearing and enjoying the skirts is below.