Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Boutique Shopping in Hanoi

Firstly Hanoi is the size of London but there is no clear areas with the same style of shops (Like Shoreditch, Camden, Kings Road..etc), everything is completely spread out and in order to shop you need a motorbike (and a driver who doesn't mind the wait..), addresses of where to go and a pocket full of Dong.

Secondly the coolest shops are in underground places, difficult to find, especially in the 40 degree heat, with jam packed roads so a lot of patience and persistence is a must have.

Thirdly most of the clothes are European size 6-8 and one offs! you can fall in love with so many beautiful outfits but they may not quite fit, which can leave you feeling a little devastated...

But fear not my friends Miss Regenerate has prepared a list of some of the coolest shops in Hanoize!

Luxury fashion mens and womenswear designer clothing and high fashion for all occassions, designers include:- Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors, Antonio Berandi, Hussein Chalayan, Little Marc, Chloe and Victor&Rolf.
- Runway 13 Hai Ba Trung Street, Hoan Kiem District.

Work Clothes for the professional lady!! (Good news, these shop are on the same street)
- L'Atelier a fashion, art and lifestyle shop, full of lovely finds, designed by local new talent, with lots of lovely accessories. They have opened up a second concept store too full of some great childrenswear and menswear too..
33 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho
-Pure Heaven Showroom understated, clean cut, oversized, comfortable clothes, designers are more European from areas like Copenhagen.
55 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho
- Gift Haus gifts, toys, decoration and accessories from all over the world. Perfect for notebooks, sketchbooks, craft books, exciting ornaments and accessories, very quirky and cool.
8A Pho Yen Phu, Tay Ho

Indie clothing, casualwear, trend based, lifestyle stores for dayway and clubwear. These stores are quite spread out so you'll need a scooter to get you down the narrow streets.

- I love SA- vintage inspired fashion, quirky, cool clothes, girly shoes and cool accessories, but small sizes, however I love SA they have 3 stores in Hanoi, so plenty to look at.
8 Ta Hien
645 Kim Ma
555 Kim Ma
-Snow- Tasteful, vintage and trend based fashion, incredible shoes and accessories everything is brought from Bangkok so more sizes and great sales assistant.
-2B Ta Hien

Harajuku-cute casual clothes, in bright colours and lots of nice styles to choose from.
-54 Hang Cot
-Unisex, 163 Hang Bac
-Comptoir Des Createurs, 166 Ba Trieu
-À MON AVIS - excellent visual merchandising, lots of different styles, but small sizes.
-La Cage- Amazing clothes (La Cage sells Al Saints), quirky layout, good sizes, excellent service from owner Nick who says 'treat this place like you've just came round to your mates house!
- No 9, Alley 3b, Dang Thai Than St

Top tips for shopping for second hand clothes in Hanoi

So after living in Hanoi now for 3 months I have discovered a whole new side to fashion and shopping. Hang Da market and Sida market is the most exciting shopping experience for anyone who loves a good car boot sale, charity shop, swap shop and vintage shop.

Clothes from Europe, Korea, Japan, Thailand and Cambodia all end up bazaarly at these markets so you can imagine what kind of ranges are available for fashionistas and shopaholics!

My top tips for hunting out the best finds are:-
1. First look for interesting fabric, prints and textures, that suit the colour of your skin.
2. Look for clothing that isn't too old and the fabric is not worn and bobbly, some clothes are brand new with labels still attached.
3. Old bras, t-shirts, underwear and vests- a no go area.
4. Wear clothes and shoes that are easy to slip off and you can try dresses and shirts on over the top.
5. Bring a small mirror with you and try all your finds on before buying them.
6. Think about items you can wear to style up your outfit, make up, belts, shoes and bags.
7. If a item in too large think about using a tailor to adjust too your size.
8. Make sure there are no marks, holes and tears on the fabric that can not be removed (unless they look cool)
9. Examine the buttons, zips and fastening to check they are functioning.
10. Thoroughly wash/dry clean your purchases as soon as you get home.

Here are some photos of items I purchased for 40,000 Dong (£1.15) per piece.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Tribes in Vietnam inspirational eco fashion

I travelled to Sapa along with 16 fashion students I was teaching to learn about Vietnamese ethnic minorities and collect fabrics and trimming for future collections. This journey was most inspirational not only because of the bright, vivid countryside and landscape. But also because of the wonderful and unique tribes that reside there, The Red Zao, Black Hmong and Flower Hmong, all living together harmoniously, preserving traditional culture growing there own hemp, spinning it into fabric, indigo dying and utilizing intricate embroidery techniques.

I asked them if they could teach me some of there techniques, 'No' they said 'We pass these down to our children and don't want people stealing our ideas' I was really happy that they were doing this.

Another Inspiration to me was the Sapa Image Gallery a photoagraphy gallery, the photography displayed in our gallery is the work of David Martin. He spent severial years in the Sapa area to produce this collection of photography which gives an in-depth look into the culture & people of my tribe, the Black Mong, and the other tribes in the area. Most likely this is the largest single collection of this nature to come out of Sapa. Some of these images show you the daily activities and ways in which they produce fabric.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Petebox Vs Pixies

The Truth is more important than the facts

TDC Graphic Design at The Goethe-Institute, Hanoi

So I headed to The Goethe-Institute in Hanoi on a sunday afternoon and stumbled across The Hanoian art scene, showcasing some of the best International graphic designers I have ever seen. Firstly the exhibition was really well put together and for a moment I felt as though I was standing in The White Cube in London.

Secondly the exhibition really opened my eyes to new ways of looking at art, print, sketchbook journals, colour pallete and of course fashion. Here are some of my highlights of the show.

Every year, the TDC simultaneously holds two type competitions: one for the use of type and letterforms in design and the other for the design of typefaces. The 242 winning entries in this year’s exhibition range from printed matter and packaging to logos and movie titles. The entries came from 20 countries around the world, including: Germany, Australia, China, England, France, Holland, India, Japan, Canada, Korea and USA.

Gold Fish Man

Gold fish man,
Gold fish man,
If he can't do it,
No-one can!

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Ethnic Minorities in Vietnam

The Hmong minority group has been sub-divided into branches classified by women's costume, dialect, relationships and customs. The Hmong of Sa Pa are called " Black Hmong " or Hmong Den in Vietnamese, because of their predominantly black clothing, and they make up 52% of the population of the district. They inhabit the scenic foothills of Mount Fansipan, 1650 meters above sea level.

Hmong Hemp

Hmong clothing is mainly made from locally grown Hemp, which has a physical structure and chemical composition similar to linen.In Hmong society, the entire hemp process, from sowing the seeds through to weaving the cloth is clearly defined as women's work, along with digging and planting other crops in the fields, collecting firewood, cooking, looking after the family, carrying heavy loads to market and walking many kilometres back home.

Hmong batik

The pattern for batik is drawn onto the cloth with a tool made by the Hmong blacksmiths which holds small amounts of bees wax. Unlike Indonesian batik, which is usually curvilinear, the Hmong patterns are made up of short, straight lines forming crosses, zig-zags and repeating motifs. The batik is produced in long lengths, dyed in a cold Indigo vat then the wax boiled off. This resist patterned fabric is made into jackets, baby carriers and skirts.


Indigo plants are cultivated in neat plots on the hillsides near the houses. The plant grows to about 60 cm high and can yield 2 crops each year. The dye is contained in the leaves which when allowed to ferment and then oxidise produce a blue powder that is insoluble in water. This can be stored as a paste or powder. There are various ways of preparing the Indigo vat with substances that make the Indigo soluble. The urine of children, particularly boys is a common additive as well as lye, lime and rice wine. When the dye bath is bubbling strongly it is ready to use. The fabric is emersed in the dye vat and worked for about half an hour then hung up to oxidise into the distinct blue colour. Subsequent dippings and oxidations will darken the colour and the black of the Hmong fabrics is achieved by repeating the process twice a day, each day for a month.


The Hmong women are known for their embroidery and fit this work between other daily chores. The main stitches used here are chain stitch and cross stitch. These are often used in combination with applique, where small pieces of fabric are stitched onto a backing cloth, edges sewn under, to make a coloured pattern. Reverse applique, where the top fabric is cut away to make a pattern of the backing cloth is also worked by the White Hmong. Both the embroidery and the applique can be extremely fine, although some work now uses thicker threads and is less detailed. In the market women are interested in each other's work and the finest work is well appreciated.

The Hmong are spirit worshippers. They believe in household spirits and those of the door and cattle. Every house has an altar, where protection for the household is sought. Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism have left their mark on a number of concepts and social institutions.

All Black Hmong people wear elaborate jewellery made of silver (sometimes from old French coins) or alloys. It has spiritual significance, keeping the soul with the body and helping to ward off evil spirits. Babies are given a simple metal band with a little bell on it, men and women wear neck rings with or without chains and women have large, decorative, earrings. A jeweller works near Sa Pa demonstrating his craft to passers by, beating the metal and engraving patterns from the natural world. Other modern day objects have been incorporated into jewellery - silver safety pins are common, Catholic crosses and occasional badges and trinkets from tourists are worn with pleasure.

Hanoi first Impressions

So my first month in Hanoi has passed and I feel totally invigorated! This city is truely amazing, built up on lots of beautiful lakes full of pagodas and holy turtles, part French (some places literally look like Parisian Boulevards) with a twist of Chinese. this city takes your breath away.

Hanoi Earth Hour

So last year I made the decision that I wanted to move back to Asia in order to spread the ethical education campaigns to the places that needed it and to develop new lines working with ethnic minorities. So after being headhunted as Head of Fashion Design at London college of Fashion studies, I moved to the capital of Vietnam, Hanoi, where I am currently residing.

Since arriving here lots of great things have happened, my first project was with Earth Hour, WWF and Boo Skate shop, to raise awareness in the effects of climate change and involve students in a T-shirt competition to promote a global campaign for the world to switch off there lights for one hour on 26th March at 8.30.

My students were really fired up and ended up producing some incredible work.