Indigo has been used for centuries by the Mong Leng. Indigo plants are planted and grown organically at the start of the crop season. When the plants are ready to be harvested, each plant is cut down. The plants are put into water in a large basket/container and left to start the fermenting process. Limestone is then gathered from the caves and are heated in fire, blacksmithing style, until they get extremely hot and start to break down into a powder when mixed with water. Once the Indigo leaves are fermented, the branches and twigs are removed and the vat is filtered of debris. With the addition of the sediments from previous vats and wood ash, Indigo Vats can be reduced before the dying begins. This is a very laborious process and the entire process can take up to two weeks. At hiimfxu, we use organic natural indigo powder for our in studio dyeing. Our future goal is to keep a traditional Mong Indigo Vat.
Hemp has been the stable fiber in traditional Mong clothing for ages. It is grown organically then harvested and goes through a long laborious process to create hemp yarn that is twisted together by hand so that it can be hand woven into fabric. Once the fabric is made, the Mong then hand draw the batik designs directly onto the hemp fabric using handmade metal tools and beeswax. Once the geometric patterns are completed, the rolls of fabric are then hand dipped dyed in the Indigo Vats. At hiimfxu, we source and use Mong Hemp Batik Fabrics that are handmade individually with the described process in Laos. As each roll of fabric is made by hand, each one is unique and no two are 100% exact. Please expect variations in patterns and color.
Beeswax is traditionally used as the resist to create Mong batik. Traditionally, hornets nests are gathered from caves and the beeswax are melted down. At hiimfxu, we use all natural yellow beeswax that is 100% pure and are filtered to be free of debris but still maintain the characteristic aroma and color that beeswax is known for.
The (H)Mong have been using French coins for about a century in Laos. The French traded silver coins with the (H)Mong and other Hilltribe minorities. The (H)Mong decorated traditional clothing as a way to show wealth. Although, most costumes are no longer decorated with real silver coins the tradition of adorning the costumes in coins is still practiced. At hiimfxu, we source our coins from (H)Mong in Laos.