|Mong women make clothes and accessories (photo: VOV)
The complete costume for a White Mong woman includes a short blouse and a pair of loose black pants with an apron covering both the front and the back. A Pieu headscarf is also indispensable. Mong women fold the Pieu headscarf into the shape of a hat and attach colored beads to it.
The centerpiece of their costume is a colorful cloth belt. A lot of time is spent making each belt as beautiful as possible. They sew a white piece of cloth on top of another piece of a contrasting color and embroider spiral lines on it.
Vu Thi Chia of Long He commune said: “The more sophisticated the belt is, the more beautiful it is. It takes from 2 months to half a year to complete a belt. We start embroidering belts when we’re young. By the time we’re 40, our eyesight is poorer and the stitching doesn't look as good anymore.”
|A piece of cloth on the back of the blouse (photo: VOV)
The blouse usually has a rather wide open V-neck fastened with a single button as low as the waist. The neckline is embroidered or stitched with colorful threads. Mong women often wear a white top underneath to make the colorful V-neck stand out. On the back of the blouse is a 15 by 20 cm piece of cloth which is also beautifully embroidered. The sleeves are crafted from about 25 pieces of black, indigo, and flowery pattern fabric.
Vi Thi Lia of Nong Mon hamletsaid: “It takes a lot of time to tailor a traditional blouse, mostly to make the sleeves. We collage fabric and then sew the sleeves to the body.”
|A Mong woman sews spiral lines on the belts. (photo: VOV)
Traditionally White Mong women wear A-line midi skirts. However, for convenience in working, women in many parts in Son La province wear pants. The original white linen skirt is worn on important occasions.
In the past Mong women wove linen to make tailored clothes for their family. Now they buy industrial fabric or even ready-made clothes, but the quality and beauty of off-the-rack costumes can’t compete with handmade clothing. Many Mong women still make their own clothes to wear in special events.
Vi Thi Lia of Nong Mon hamlet says: “We all make at least one set of traditional clothes for festivals and celebrations. We also put aside at least two traditional blouses to wear when we get old.”
The colorful and sophisticated costumes of the Mong and other ethnic groups enliven spring festivals in the mountains.