Saturday, 15 June 2013

Forgive me father, for I have sinhed.....

In Lao, the textiles industry is thriving, in part because the locals still wear traditional dress almost daily.

The "sinh" is a traditional Lao skirt made from a single panel of fabric which folds back on itself to be closed. You can pretty much judge a person by their sinh - natural or synthetic fibers, cotton or silk, the amount of needlework (some extend for the entire length of the sinh, very expensive).

My work sinhs - my fancy work sinh on the left is the most expensive, with them
dropping in cost from left to right
So when in Lao, do as the Lao do, and so I have bought myself a few dress sinh for formal occasions (silk, of course, and 1,500,000 LAK (~$200) cost before tailoring), and extra formal sinh (~$100 cost) and a number of work sinhs (~$100 for six sinhs, one of which is a slightly more formal work sinh- generally though it seems I have expensive taste!). Cost of tailoring in Vientiane is 100,000 LAK (they often start at 120,000 or 150,000, but you can barter down AND there are places there that do cheaper if you can find them. In Pakse, it costs around 50,000 LAK per sinh, no frills, I just got mine done for ~80,000 LAK each after she revised up from her original 50,000 for lining etc (I may have been taken for a ride, but I didn't really care at the time, I just wanted them done and she is known for doing good work).

So all in all I've spent about $500 on sinhs...whoops!

My formal sinh - I bought the whole outfit
straight off the mannequin!
Formal sinhs, at the top especially. Torneat tailors,
across from Lao Kitchen.
They specialise in using natural fibres and dyes.

The best thing is that I don't have to think too much about what to wear to work and the Lao people really take to you when you wear their national dress. They also are made just about perfectly to sit on a moto with modesty. And if you're after something uniquely Lao for a gift or souvenir, a sinh is perfect. You could definitely get them made into a gorgeous pencil skirt or the like, I can already see myself missing them when I finally leave in 17 months time!

Gavin and I in traditional dress for our formal
dinner with the Australia ambassador
and AVID/AYAD host organisations

1 comment:

  1. you are rocking those Sinhs! I think you could easily start a trend here in oz, they would be perfect for Brisbane summers. Sounds like a fancy dinner do :) Australian Ambassador, cool!