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How are our bags made? A closer look.

One of the main things which we pride ourselves about the most here at Hmongstudios is the unique and amazing process that goes into creating our bags. From our natural dyeing process to intricate cross stitching done by hand, a lot of excellent craftsmanship goes into every one of our products.

The Hemp

Our bags are made from 100% organic hemp which is grown by the Hmong people on their mountain farms in Sa Pa, Vietnam. Once it is ready, the hemp is harvested, boiled, washed, and then weaved together to create the beautiful and durable fabric used in our bags. Some of the properties of our hemp that make it great this purpose are:

  1. It is extremely durable. Up to 8 times stronger than a similar weave made from cotton, hemp is a great material for bags that may be traveling the world with you.
  2. It is more resistant to molds and mildews compared to cotton. This makes the bags ideal if you are going to need to be putting dirty laundry in them, whether it be during travels, or just at the gym.
  3. It is locally grown. This makes hemp a much more eco-friendly alternative to large cotton farms which most of the industry uses.
hmong hemp

Harvesting the hemp to be made into a fabric.

hemp products

Weaving the hemp into a fabric

The Dyeing Process

After the hemp is woven into a fabric, it is then dyed to our signature raw indigo color. In Sa Pa, it is very common to see huge vats of natural indigo dye, ready to be used on the hemp canvas. It is very rare for a larger company to use natural indigo dye, as the synthetic version is both cheaper and quicker for their manufacturing. However, it is impossible to achieve the exact color and texture that our bags have without the use of natural indigo.


Now, here is where the exciting part comes in! For intricate designs, such as some of the ones on our hemp purses, the Hmong draw on the fabric with either wax or honey. Then, when the fabric is dyed the wax prevents the indigo from dyeing certain parts, results in the beautiful patterns on the bags!

A beautiful vat of raw indigo.

hmong

Lining the fabric with wax.

Finally

Once all the fabric is dyed, it is time to assemble the bags! The bags are put together using a single-setting sewing machine which all the artisans are extremely skilled with. They are able to quickly and accurately stitch the fabric into the beautiful bags on our website. After that, they simply check for any quality issues, and then send the bags out to us in the United States!

hmong sewing

A Hmong woman putting together one of our bags

The Difference

So, why should you buy a Hmongstudios bag over a mass manufactured ones? There are many reasons:

  • You are benefiting the local artisans - in a country where the GDP per capita is only a little over $2000, Hmongstudios is really changing lives. We are proud that about 40% of our profits go to the Hmong people (compared to the industry standard of 0.5-4%), so every purchase you make really counts.
  • You are getting a unique, one of a kind product - Since each bag is woven, dyed, and stitched by hand, each finished product is unique! Small variations in texture and color give our products character that is one of a kind.
  • The bags age beautifully - Due to the natural indigo dye, our bags actually get better and more unique over time! As they age, the bags will develop beautiful lighter blue hues as a result of being worn in. When the light hits one of our older bags just right, the effect is amazing!

  • I hope this post gave some insight into the craftsmanship behind our products. If you have any more questions, don't hesitate to contact us!


    -David

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