Laos Textiles Industry
Laos is an excellent destination for those interested in picking up elaborate handicrafts and Vientiane is the best place to do so. Hill tribe silk, arts, crafts, home-furnishings, jewelry and couture-quality textiles are all readily available within the city. The richly colored textiles of Laos are as unique and diverse as the 49 official ethic tribes that make up this tiny land-locked country. Traditionally, fabrics and designs are woven, dyed and sewn by women. From sturdy Hmong hemp to luxurious silk, the motifs found in local textiles are truly symbolic and representative of a nation with a remarkable history, with animals like elephants, snakes and birds found woven into brightly colored fabrics, showing rain-bearing power, fertility and class.
Textiles of the Lao-Tai and Hmong prove some of the most popular among travelers, and many visitors to this royal land flock to Laos Textiles in downtown Vientiane to watch young women create these incredible fabrics by hand. American owner Carol Cassidy employs 40 Lao artisans who use traditional techniques to produce scarves, shawls, table linens and other items. They specialize in 100 percent hand-woven silk at this showroom, studio and gallery located in a renovated French colonial structure near the Mekong River.
There are quite a few markets taking place around Vientiane where fresh produce, as well as crafts and ornaments, can be picked up. The city’s main shopping streets are Samsenthai and Setthathirat, around the Nam Phu Fountain area and the Morning Market, where you can find the best deals on local silks.