A sneak peek

Of textiles from Laos

Nov 19, 2020 by Irene Vermeulen

Hand-spun, naturally dyed cotton with a wonderful texture. Hand-woven, locally grown silk in stunning patterns. Hand embroidery, screen printing and carpet knotting. Just a few of the many excellent techniques used by textile makers from Laos. Craftscurator is guiding a group of 11 companies to create product ranges for exports that will be launched in the European market in the next years.

Pure and natural
The wonderfully textured cotton fabrics and stunning handwoven patterns made in Laos are very suitable for the interior. Pure and simple textiles in neutral shades can be found, in a nice textured quality for cushion covers and throws, or in a thicker quality for rugs. Some companies also create home wear collections, hammam towels and shawls. In the programme, the entrepreneurs research the European market in detail, and identify the best opportunities for their home textiles.

Ethnic and bold
Bolder designs and more intricate patterns are also available, in cotton, silk, linen or hemp. Think of ikat patterns, screen prints, hand embroidery and applique work. Techniques and patterns reflecting the heritage of ethnic groups (and made by them!) can be found. As part of the programme, companies are encouraged to do apply innovative techniques and work on developing their own design signature for the market.

Small scale production
People come first in Laos, there is a strong sense of community. Many companies work with social values, whether they have their own workshop, or work with producer groups in remote or rural areas. Weaving is typically done by women, and the majority of the business owners in the programme are female. The programme guides the companies in empowering their people to improve production.

Natural resources
Care for the planet comes natural for most of the companies. For textiles, locally grown cotton and mulberry silk can be used, that is processed by hand. Many companies have outstanding skills in natural dyeing by hand, that includes a top quality indigo. Weaving and finishing is done by hand in most cases, minimizing the environmental footprint. As part of the programme, companies will make improvements to make sure their products meet the standards of the market, as well as their environmental values and those of their buyers.

Opportunities in the market
Profit is important for the small and medium sized companies. In the programme, they work on a business model that is sustainable and works in the local market as well as for exports. All efforts and improvements are made with a focus on opportunities in the market, for the longer as well as the shorter term. The latter is important because many companies in Laos are hit hard by the Covid-crisis; tourists and buyers have stayed away.

Value for buyers
CBI, The Centre for the promotion of Imports from Developing Counties, is running an export development programme in Laos. Irene will lead the Home Textiles programme on behalf of CBI and is coaching small and medium sized entreprises in export marketing. CBI has already done a lot of groundwork in Laos, both in the sector as well as on company level. CBI can co-create with European buyers. We can guide the Lao supplier you have selected to professionalise. We can also source new suppliers and products for and with you.

If you are an importer or retail buyer interested to learn more about textiles and producers from Laos, contact Irene.

Previous post on textiles from Laos

Take a peek
What's on the loom in Laos?
Plant prints on silk
in a small worksop in Vientiane
Natural dyes
in a stunning variety
Hand-spun cotton
gives a wonderful texture
Dyeing by hand
using natural dyes
Hand-woven fabrics
Colourful warp
Hand-embroidered textiles
On indigo dyed cotton
Screen printing
Contempo Hmong patterns