In the La Chi ethnic minority group’s perception, their traditional costume has become a cultural feature. They do not buy fabric from other ethnic minority groups and only wear their home-made clothes. Their indigo-blue traditional costume looks simple, but they are woven by skillful and meticulous craftspeople, especially every pattern on the clothes’ hem. Most La Chi women are taught how to weave from their very young ages. The more meticulous and beautiful the stitch of the product is, the more skillful the woman is.

Members in a family share the weaving work.

The La Chi people always treasure their traditional costumes, so they work very meticulously at each stage of making their clothes. They do not buy fabric and often grow cotton to weave it. According to Hoang Thi Xa, a La Chi woman in Ban Phung commune (Hoang Su Phi district), it takes them several months to complete a traditional costume, and indigo dyeing is the most time-consuming process.

People often sow cotton seeds in January or February and harvest it in August and September. After being picked up, the cotton is dried and squeezed to get rid of seeds. Then, the cotton is carded and rolled in small bars to make fabrics later. The next stage requires the ingenuity of women, when they have to evenly and flexibly draw the yarn to get the same thread size. From those threads, they continue to weave on the loom to get a fabric.

The La Chi people always wear indigo-blue shirts. For the fabric to be properly colored, the women must dye and dry it at least five times. From rudimentary tools and skillful hands of the La Chi women, the traditional costumes look simple, but they are very delicate in each stitch.

“Clothes for men are more difficult to do than those for women. Only skilled craftspeople can make male clothes,” said Lung Thi Ung in Ban Phung commune.

Traditionally, the La Chi men wear five-piece long tunic with a turban. The sleeves of men’s shirts are usually wider than women’s. The La Chi women usually wear four-piece long dresses with embroidered patterns on their bibs and collars, creating a unique feature for their costumes. They also wear jewelry such as earrings, bracelets, and turbans.

The La Chi people believed that their ancestors taught them how to weave, so they have always treasured the traditional weaving craft. Thus, the weaving craft has become a beautiful cultural identity of the La Chi ethnic people in Ha Giang province.

Translated by Lam Anh