Akha do do do…

Anyone who knows me is well aware that I have something of a penchant for all things ethnic.

I may have even touched briefly upon this in a previous post. So of course when I spotted a handmade Akha jacket at a market in Laos for only $18 (or thereabouts, depending on the value of the relatively worthless Lao kip) I was rendered powerless and handed over the cash to the hilltribe lady who probably went home and did a little jig of joy knowing she’d swindled me out of my hard-earned cash (seeing as prices in Lao are so low, she was probably amazed I’d spend that much on a jacket).

Meanwhile, I went straight back to my guesthouse room (well, after dessert anyway) and into raptures over my bargain purchase… this jacket is (as far as I can tell) hand stitched, and was probably made from organic, handspun, handwoven and hand-dyed cotton. It’s all decorated by hand too, with embroidery, pom poms and applique in lots of colours (which are no doubt synthetic materials, but never mind) and even cowrie shells sewn on.
The creativity and amount of time this would have taken just blows me away, however it looked a bit too ‘ethnic’ even for me to wear just as it was, even though it fitted. So back at home I dug out some scraps of black silk and made fake lapels, and now it’s a bit like a tux… a tux that you’d wear to a hilltribe wedding maybe? I’ve accessorised with a cowrie shell neklace that I think I was given as a present by a lovely friend who knows I’m much more into this sort of stuff than diamonds and pearls!