Tag Archives: fashion

Max Mara vs Laos’ Oma: Alleged Fashion Design Theft Dispute Pushes Change.org Petition To 5,000

Max Mara vs Laos' Oma Change.org petition approaches 5,000

The ongoing design-related dispute involving Italian-based fashion house Max Mara, Laos’ ethnic Oma people Luang Prabang’s Traditional Arts & Ethnology Centre over the alleged unauthorized use of traditional ethnic textile motifs from the remote ethnic community in the firm’s fashion offerings is heating up with an online petition reaching 5,000 signatures.

The petition entitled “Urge Max Mara to pull plagiarised ethnic Oma designs from their stores”  was posted on the popular site change.org

The Laotian Times reported on the dispute earlier this month in the article “Max Mara vs Laos’ Oma Ethnic Group: Fashion Chain Facing Claims of Textile Plagiarism, Design Theft“.

Now, an online petition via Change.org to the owner of the Fashion Chain Max Mara was approaching 5,000 signatures as of 10 am Monday April 22 in Laos (UTC+7).

Max Mara has gone silent. It’s been over a week since we sent our last letter, and since then, our petition…

Posted by Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre on ວັນອາທິດ ທີ 21 ເມສາ 2019

“Clearly, consumers and the general public feel that harvesting and profiting from the creative work of others, particularly ethnic minority groups in developing countries, is wrong, and allowing it to go unchecked sets a dangerous precedent,” the letter from TAEC to Luigi Maramotti, Chairman of Max Mara, states.

“As the chairman of your privately-owned company, we are now reaching out to you directly. Please demonstrate ethical and moral leadership in the fashion and textile industry.”

“We ask that you pull this line from your stores, online shop, and resellers, issue a public statement committing to not plagiarise in the future, and lastly, donate the proceeds earned from the sales of these designs to an organisation of your choice that works to the protect the rights of ethnic artisans around the world.”

     VS  Max Mara

Efforts to raise awareness to the plight of the intellectual property of some of Laos most remote communities is being spearheaded by the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre of Luang Prabang.

The Petition started by TAEC and addressed to Max Mara Chairman Luigi Maramotti and Designer Director Laura Lusuardi states:

“Max Mara, a billion dollar Italian fashion house, plagiarised traditional designs of the Oma ethnic minority group from Laos.

“This is not the first time that a fashion brand has copied or appropriated designs of an ethnic group from developing countries, and past experience has shown that these companies are only likely to respond when faced with public pressure and negative press.

“Max Mara digitally duplicated and printed the designs onto fabric, reducing painstaking, traditional motifs to factory-produced patterns.

“The colors, composition, shapes, and even placement are identical to the original Oma designs. The company has not acknowledged the Oma in marketing, labeling, or display of the collection in its stores and online shop, nor has compensation been paid.

Max Mara vs Laos' Oma Change.org petition approaches 5,000

Max Mara vs Laos’ Oma Change.org petition approaches 5,000

“The Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre is calling for Max Mara to (1) pull the clothing line from its stores and online, (2) publicly commit to not plagiarising designs again, and (3) donate 100% of the proceeds already earned from the sale of these garments to an organisation of its choice that advocates for the intellectual property rights of ethnic minorities. More information can be found on TAEC’s Facebook page.

“A largely agrarian community, the Oma live in the remote mountains northern Laos, northwestern Vietnam and southern China.

“Their exact population and number of villages is difficult to establish, as they are often grouped as part of the larger Akha ethnic group. However, it is estimated that in Laos there are fewer than 2,000 Oma across seven villages.

“Traditional clothing is still a vital part of the identity and pride of Oma people — handspun, indigo-dyed garments with vibrant red embroidery and applique is distinctive and unique to their group.

“In recent years, Oma women have begun to earn income through the sale of their distinctive crafts. In remote communities with few economic opportunities, these earnings are vital, and used towards improved nutrition, health, and education for their families.

“Founded in 1951 by Italian Achille Maramotti, Max Mara Fashion Group has grown into an international fashion powerhouse with over 2,200 stores in 105 countries and an online shop.

In 2017, Max Mara Fashion Group recorded global sales of €1.558 billion, across all brands. Unlike most couture houses which are publicly traded or held by multinational corporations, Max Mara Fashion Group is privately-held and helmed by Luigi Maramotti, CEO and a member of the original founding family.

“This is not an example of simple cultural appropriation, where designers utilize ‘ethnic-inspired’ elements, colors, materials, or styling, toeing the murky line between appreciation and appropriation.

“This is stealing the work of artisans who do not have the tools to fight it on their own,” states Tara Gujadhur, Co-Founder of the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre (TAEC), a social enterprise founded to celebrate and promote Laos’ ethnic cultural heritage and support rural artisans.

“TAEC’s small team based in Luang Prabang, Laos, is working to draw attention to Max Mara Fashion Group’s negligent behavior. Upon discovering the company’s plagiarism purely by chance on 2 April 2019, they sent repeated emails and messages to Max Mara’s headquarters, with no response.

“As a result, TAEC took to social media to amplify their message. The company finally responded on 10 April, but has not issued any apology or admitted their mistake, simply demanding the campaign cease, and then threatening potential legal action.

“A design is intellectual property, whether it’s sketched in a notebook by an illustrator, mocked up by a graphic designer on a computer, or embroidered on indigo-dyed cotton in a remote village in Laos.

“If it’s generally understood that using someone’s photography or written work without acknowledgment or permission is wrong, why would a handcrafted textile design be any different?” states Gujadhur.

“For this behavior to go unchecked is dangerous, as it sends the message that creative work that is traditional and shared by a community and culture in the developing world does not deserve the same kind of protections given to contemporary designs by individual ‘artists’ in the West. Companies can harvest motifs, materials, and ideas freely from communities that lack the educational, financial, and technological resources to have their rights recognized,” elaborates Gujadhur.

TAEC began working with the Oma in Nanam Village in 2010, when the organization was hired by a German development agency to survey their crafts and identify potential income-generating opportunities for the community. Since then, TAEC has helped Nanam to create more market-oriented products, such as pouches, cuffs, and wine bottle sleeves, generating much-needed cash for the women artisans and their families.

“The handicrafts are sold in TAEC’s museum shops in Luang Prabang, a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of Laos’ few cities that draws significant international tourism. Currently, TAEC works with over 30 communities across Laos, with fifty percent of the proceeds from their shops flowing directly to artisans.

TAEC has spoken to Khampheng Loma, the headman of Nanam Village, and not surprisingly, he was somewhat unclear about the issue. “The artisans we work with live in a very remote community, so their life experience is completely removed from issues of intellectual property rights. However, we will continue to discuss it with them, as we recognise this as an important, long-term process,” according to Thongkhoun Soutthivilay, TAEC’s Co-Director, who works closely with the Oma women on handicraft production.

“Each motif has a special meaning,” Loma shared. “Our tradition of embroidery makes us who we are. In our culture, you have to know how to embroider to be able to call yourself Oma.”

 

Max Mara vs Laos’ Oma Ethnic Group: Fashion Chain Facing Claims of Textile Plagiarism, Design Theft

Oma People of Laos versus Max Mara in Plagiarism, Design Theft Claim

The Laotian Times looks at the plagiarism accusations lodged against fashion chain Max Mara by the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre. In doing so, we also welcome the chance to publish Max Mara’s response to these claims as soon as they become available.

Alleged plagiarism of traditional designs of ethnic minority groups has hit the headlines in Laos with Italian born private fashion chain being accused of pilfering the property of the Oma people, an ethnic group who reside in the mountainous north and north-east of South East Asia’s multiethnic Laos.

No mention of origin. Products promoted on Max Mara Weekend Zagreb Instagram. #MaxOma Direct link:https://www.instagram.com/p/BvqktKiHM6A/(update: Max Mara has taken down this social media post!)

Posted by Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre on ວັນຈັນ ທີ 8 ເມສາ 2019

Weekend MaxMara Zagreb

Posted by Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre on ວັນຈັນ ທີ 8 ເມສາ 2019

Social media shares have hit the thousands for the underdog story of the year as the diminutive cultural community of a small number of villages goes into bat against global fashion giant Max Mara after the discovery of the alleged design theft in Croatia.

The campaign calls for Max Mara to (1) pull the clothing line from its stores and online, (2) publicly commit to not plagiarising designs again, and (3) donate 100% of the proceeds already earned from the sale of these garments to an organisation that advocates for the intellectual property rights of ethnic minorities.

Side by side comparison. #MaxOma

Posted by Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre on ວັນຈັນ ທີ 8 ເມສາ 2019

Multi-million dollar fashion brand Max Mara is exploiting cultural designs and heritage of the Oma, an isolated ethnic minority group in northern Laos, without any acknowledgment or compensation, Luang Prabang’s Traditional Arts & Ethnology Centre alleges.

No mention of origin of the "ethnic print" or the Oma on their website. #MaxOma

Posted by Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre on ວັນຈັນ ທີ 8 ເມສາ 2019

“Our grandparents passed down these traditions to our parents, and our parents to us. We are the Oma people, and we preserve our culture by making and wearing our traditional clothes. We need them especially for funeral rites, out of respect to our ancestors.” – Khampheng Loma, Head of Nanam Village

Campaigning alongside Laos’ Oma people is the Traditional Arts & Ethnology Centre in UNESCO World Heritage Listed Luang Prabang.

In fact, it was the discovery of the alleged examples of appropriation by the centre’s staff in far-away Croatia that has led to the accusations against the fashion giant.Lauren Ellis, former employee of Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre and current museums curator based in Melbourne.

Side by side comparison. #MaxOma

Posted by Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre on ວັນຈັນ ທີ 8 ເມສາ 2019

Her reaction when she discovered the Max Mara collection in one of the brand’s stores in Zagreb, Croatia?

“I had to do a double take. It was only because I had worked in Laos that I immediately recognized the designs as Oma. They had copied the patterns exactly. I couldn’t believe that this major brand would sell such blatantly stolen designs.” 

Now, together the Oma and the TAEC are highlighting appropriation of the owners’ intellectual property following alleged Infringements by the Italian-founded fashion chain Max Mara.



Working with embroidery and applique is very challenging. Each motif is difficult and time-consuming to make. But, this is our tradition. Now, we can make products to sell to help support our families.” – Khampheng Loma, Head of Nanam Village

Side by side comparison. #MaxOma

Posted by Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre on ວັນຈັນ ທີ 8 ເມສາ 2019

The handmade textiles of the Oma are incredibly detailed, taking a huge amount of time, skill, and patience. To see them reduced to a printed pattern on a mass-produced garment is heartbreaking.” – Tara Gujadhur, TAEC Co-Director

Side by side comparison. #MaxOma

Posted by Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre on ວັນຈັນ ທີ 8 ເມສາ 2019

“The issue here is not the integration of Oma motifs in a more globalized world through the collection of Max Mara,” Dr. Lissoir said.

Cultures are fluid. Communities and their traditions and handicrafts are in constant change. They adapt themselves and get inspired by other cultures. Always have, always will.

However, Max Mara didn’t get inspired by Oma motifs and reinterpret them. They simply scanned a handmade piece and printed it on clothes without even mentioning the existence of Oma community.

This is not cultural appreciation. This is not creative interpretation. This is plagiarism.”

 

TAEC’s full statement reads:

“ITALIAN FASHION BRAND MAX MARA PLAGIARISES DESIGNS OF ETHNIC MINORITY GROUP IN LAOS”

“Multi-million dollar fashion brand Max Mara is exploiting cultural designs and heritage of the Oma, an isolated ethnic minority group in northern Laos, without any acknowledgement or compensation, Luang Prabang’s Traditional Arts & Ethnology Centre alleges.

Max Mara Fashion Group, a multi-billion dollar Italian couture fashion house plagiarised traditional designs of the Oma ethnic minority group in their Spring/Summer 2019 collection.

The patterns appeared in dresses, skirts and blouses presented in the collection’s “Max Mara Weekend” resort line.

The Oma, a small ethnic community living in the hills of Phongsaly Province in northern Laos, embroider, stitch, and appliqué these colorful designs onto their traditional clothing, including head scarves, jackets, and leg wraps.

Max Mara digitally duplicated and printed the designs onto fabric, reducing painstaking, traditional motifs to factory-produced patterns.

The colours, composition, shapes, and even placement, are identical to the original Oma designs. Max Mara’s design and marketing team has not acknowledged or compensated the Oma in marketing, labeling, or display of the collection in their stores and online shop, nor have they responded to urgent enquiries on the issue.

A largely agrarian community, the Oma live in the remote mountains northern Laos, northwestern Vietnam and southern China. Their exact population and number of villages is difficult to establish, as they are often grouped as part of the larger Akha ethnic group.

However, it is estimated that in Laos there are fewer than 2,000 Oma across seven villages.

Traditional clothing is still a vital part of the identity and pride of Oma people — handspun, indigo-dyed garments with vibrant red embroidery and applique is distinctive and unique to their group.

In recent years, Oma women have begun to earn income through the sale of their distinctive crafts. In remote communities with few economic opportunities, these earnings are vital, and used towards improved nutrition, health, and education for their families.

Founded in 1951 by Italian Achille Maramotti, Max Mara Fashion Group has grown into an international fashion powerhouse with over 2,200 stores in 105 countries and an online shop.

In 2017, Max Mara Fashion Group recorded global sales of €1.558 million, across all brands.

Unlike most couture houses which are publicly traded or held by multinational corporations, Max Mara Fashion Group is privately-held and helmed by Luigi Maramotti, CEO and a member of the original founding family.

Co-Founder of the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre (TAEC), a social enterprise founded to celebrate and promote Laos’ ethnic cultural heritage and support rural artisans, is Tara Gujadhur.

“This is not an example of simple cultural appropriation, where designers utilize ‘ethnic-inspired’ elements, colors, materials, or styling, toeing the murky line between appreciation and appropriation,” Gujadhur said.

“This is stealing the work of artisans who do not have the tools to fight it on their own,”

TAEC’s small team based in Luang Prabang, Laos, is working to draw attention to Max Mara Fashion Group’s negligent behavior.

Upon discovering the company’s plagiarism purely by chance, they sent repeated emails and messages to Max Mara’s headquarters, with no response.

As a result, TAEC is now taking to social media to amplify their message and enlist the public’s support.

A call for action is being shared from TAEC’s Facebook and Instagram page (@taeclaos), where photo comparisons of the products can be found, as well.

“A design is intellectual property, whether it’s sketched in a notebook by an illustrator, mocked up by a graphic designer on a computer, or embroidered on indigo-dyed cotton in a remote village in Laos. If it’s generally understood that using someone’s photography or written work without acknowledgment or permission is wrong, why would a handcrafted textile design be any different?,” Gujadhur said.

“Over the past three decades, protecting the intellectual property rights of the third world and indigenous peoples has become recognized as crucial, although how this should be done is much more debatable. We are looking at ways to assist the communities we work with to tackle this issue.”

“For this behavior to go unchecked is dangerous, as it sends the message that creative work that is traditional and shared by a community and culture in the developing world does not deserve the same kind of protections given to contemporary designs by individual ‘artists’ in the West.

“Companies can harvest motifs, materials, and ideas freely from communities that lack the educational, financial, and technological resources to have their rights recognized.”

TAEC began working with the Oma in Nanam Village in 2010 when the organization was hired by a German development agency to survey their crafts and identify potential income-generating opportunities for the community.

Since then, TAEC has helped Nanam to create more market-oriented products, such as pouches, cuffs, and wine bottle sleeves, generating much-needed cash for the women artisans and their families.

The handicrafts are sold in TAEC’s museum shops in Luang Prabang, a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of Laos’ few cities that draws significant international tourism.

Currently, TAEC works with over 30 communities across Laos, with fifty percent of the proceeds from their shops flowing directly to artisans.

TAEC has spoken to Khampheng Loma, the headman of Nanam Village, and not surprisingly, he was somewhat unclear about the issue.

“The artisans we work with live in a very remote community, so their life experience is completely removed from issues of intellectual property rights.

However, we will continue to discuss it with them, as we recognize this as an important, long-term process,” according to Thongkhoun Soutthivilay, TAEC’s Co-Director, who works closely with the Oma women on handicraft production.

“Each motif has a special meaning,” Loma said.

“Our tradition of embroidery makes us who we are. In our culture, you have to know how to embroider to be able to call yourself Oma.”

TAEC’s campaign to draw attention to this issue is now live, using Facebook, Instagram, and influencers across platforms to call out Max Mara’s plagiarism.

The campaign calls for Max Mara to (1) pull the clothing line from its stores and online, (2) publicly commit to not plagiarising designs again, and (3) donate 100% of the proceeds already earned from the sale of these garments to an organisation that advocates for the intellectual property rights of ethnic minorities.

The Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre (TAEC) is a local social enterprise founded in 2006 to promote the appreciation and transmission of Laos’ ethnic cultural heritage and livelihoods based on traditional skills.

The Centre’s primary activities are two-fold: a museum, and fair-trade handicrafts shops directly linked with artisan communities. The Centre’s work includes school outreach activities, craft workshops, lectures, research, and a non-profit foundation.

What did Max Mara do?

Max Mara used traditional designs of the Oma ethnic minority group in their Spring/Summer 2019 collection for the “Max Mara Weekend” clothing line, without acknowledgment, and likely without permission or compensation. Oma women embroider, stitch, and appliqué these designs onto their traditional clothing, including head scarves, jackets, and leg wraps. Max Mara had these designs digitally duplicated and printed onto fabric, reducing painstaking, traditional motifs to factory-produced patterns. The colors, composition, shapes, and even placement are identical to the Oma designs.

Who are the Oma?

The Oma are a small ethnic group living in mainland Southeast Asia. They speak a language belonging to the Sino-Tibetan ethnolinguistic family, like the Akha – a community more numerous and widely recognized by the general public. While Oma are often described as a sub-group of Akha ethnic group (and called “Akha Oma”), many consider themselves a distinct community. This association with the Akha makes the exact population and number of villages of the Oma difficult to pin down. However, it is estimated that there are fewer than 2,000 Oma in Laos, inhabiting seven villages in Phongsaly province. Small Oma communities may also exist in neighboring southern China, northwest Vietnam, and Myanmar.


Can copying a design be considered “plagiarism?”

Absolutely. A design is intellectual property. Whether it’s sketched in a notebook by an illustrator, mocked up by a graphic designer on a computer, or embroidered on indigo-dyed cotton in a remote village in Laos. If it is generally understood that using someone’s photography or written work without acknowledgment or permission is wrong, why would a handcrafted textile design be any different? Over the past three decades, protecting the intellectual property (IP) rights of third-world and indigenous peoples has become recognized as essential, though how it should be done is much more debatable.

TAEC Co-Director, Tara, working with the Oma artisans in 2017 to understand the time involved in creating their clothing.Photo credit: Radium Tam

Posted by Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre on ວັນຈັນ ທີ 8 ເມສາ 2019

If the designs have no patent, how can Max Mara be held accountable?

Public opinion. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for traditional knowledge, artwork, design, and ideas to be co-opted by multinational corporations who have the power and financial clout to either ignore IP claims or drag them out in court. However, we have seen that a public outcry, negative press, and boycotting of brands can pressure companies to admit wrongdoing and improve their practices.

 

What should Max Mara have done if they wanted to feature the Oma’s designs?

They had many options. They could have approached the Oma community or artisans directly, and ordered their handmade work for a fair price to incorporate into their clothing, generating income for the community. There are organizations, like Nest, that work with brands to help link them to artisan groups and social enterprises in developing countries to collaborate. These partnerships can result in wonderfully creative products that also generate great visibility and earnings for both the brand and the communities. At the very least, Max Mara should have attributed the designs to the Oma (avoiding the generic “ethnic” term) and committed a certain percentage of profit to go towards education, rural development, or advocacy work with Oma communities.

How has the Oma community reacted to this issue?

The Oma artisans TAEC works with live in a very remote community, so their life experience is completely removed from issues of intellectual property rights. However, we will continue to discuss it with them, as we recognize this as an important, long-term process.

If they don’t understand the issue, why does it matter?

Plagiarism is wrong, whether the plagiarised feel wronged or not. Letting this kind of corporate behavior go unchecked is dangerous, as it sends the message that creative work that is traditional and shared by a community and culture in the developing world does not deserve the same kind of protections given to contemporary designs by individual “artists” in the West. Companies can harvest motifs, materials, and ideas freely from communities that lack the educational, financial, and technological resources to have their rights recognized.

How did TAEC get involved?

TAEC has worked with the Oma since 2010 when we were hired to survey their crafts and identify potential income-generating opportunities for their artisans. Most recently, we have worked with them on documenting their traditional music and new year’s celebrations. Nanam Village is an approximately 9-hour drive from Luang Prabang, part of it unpaved, and is by far the most remote village (of 30 across Laos) that TAEC works with.

On Tuesday, 2 April 2019, a friend and former colleague was in Zagreb, Croatia, and saw the designs through a Max Mara shop window. She immediately shared pictures with us. Amazed, we initially thought it might be actual handcrafted work from the Oma that was incorporated into the clothing. Upon further examination, it became clear that not only were the Oma not credited in the name of the garment, on tags, or online, but the motifs were simply digitally reproduced and mass-printed. TAEC immediately reached out to Max Mara’s headquarters through various e-mail addresses and social media channels. After a week with no response, TAEC feels it’s important to make this issue public.

What should Max Mara do now to right this?

Max Mara should: (1) pull the clothing line from its stores and online, (2) publicly commit to not plagiarising designs again, and (3) donate 100% of the proceeds already earned from the sale of these garments to an organization that advocates for the intellectual property rights of ethnic minorities.”

 

Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre, Luang Prabang, Laos

Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre, Luang Prabang, Laos

 

Furball 2018: Animal Love, Welfare Aspirations Light Up The Night in Laos

Furball 2018 for Vimaan Suan Foundation in Vientiane Laos.

Fashionable Folk and Animal Spirits were very much in attendance as the very first Furball 2018 touched down in the Lao capital Saturday with some 150 folk in attendance.

Attendees helped raise funds for construction of a secure fence to mark the perimeter of Laos’ very first sanctuary for aged, infirm and other domestic animals, offering treatment and dignity to felines and “man’s best friend” alike.

In a salute to the effort, an entertainment line up of some of Laos biggest names such as Ola of the band Black Eyes, Aluna Thavansouk and Tot Lina hit the stage with well known tunes in Lao and English languages.

The musical feast was preceded by multiple courses of Crowne Plaza Hotel’s very finest kitchen creations.

Love Me, Love My Dog

Coming out to the strains of 70s British pop singer Peter Shelley’s hit was Aluna Thavansouk.

She also thrilled the charity’s supporters with her version of John Lennon’s legendary Imagine.

You Make Me So Very Happy

Attendees were treated to the rare reemergence of Singapore-bred & Laos-based inspiration Shanaynay, who lent her voice and presence to thrill the crowd.

The smooth voice of Sanonh and the up and coming vocals of Pepsi Song Contest Winner Kob also tickled the fancy of the animal lovers in attendance.

Furry Friends for a Cause

The fundraising Gala supports the Vimaan Suan Foundation’s Sanctuary Building Fund.

Proceeds from FurBall 2018 are be earmarked for Phase One of the construction of the Sanctuary located in Naxaythong District.

According to organisers, “each ticket sold will help build approximately 1 meter of wall that is 3 meters tall to protect the resident animals from predators and dog/cat thieves.

“Additional funds raised will be used to raise the level of the land to ensure the safety of the resident animals in the event of flooding.”

 


Furball 2018 for Vimaan Suan Foundation in Vientiane Laos.

Securing Laos’ First Animal Sanctuary for Aged & Infirm Pet & Domestic Furries Sees Friends Flocking to Ball for Wall

Friends of Fur Gathering at Ball for A Wall At Laos' First Animal Sanctuary
Albert Einstein & Friends Would Come Out For Furball 2018

“If a man aspires towards a righteous life, his first act of abstinence is from injury to animals” – Albert Einstein

Hey smart ladies and gents! Animal lovers!! All friends of the fur in Laos!!!

Vimaan Suan Foundation and Crowne Plaza Vientiane jointly present FurBall 2018, a fundraiser for the Vimaan Suan Foundation’s Sanctuary Building Fund that touches down in Vientiane on November 24, 2018.

Award-winning celebrities from Laos including Aluna Thavonsouk, Tot Lina, Ola, Sanonh Maniphonh will be joined by 2018 Pepsi Singing Contest Winner Kob to entertain supporters attending the gala dinner.

Vimaan Suan Foundation is the first foundation dedicated to improving the welfare of domestic animals/pets in Laos to be registered in the country.

Programmes supported by the Foundation include vaccination projects, school and youth education programmes, community service programmes, capacity building programmes and a sanctuary for senior and special-needs dog and cats.

Based on estimates, each ticket sold will help build about 1 square meter of a wall that is some 3m tall to that will help to protect the sanctuary’s resident animals.

All proceeds raised will be earmarked for the First Phase of construction for the sanctuary which is located in Vientiane’s Naxaythong district.

Exclusive partners for FurBall 2018 are BeerLao, Carlsberg, AEnoteca, BlueGrass Design Group, Sisane Artist and Rajah and Tann Asia.

Sponsors and supporters include Lao Tobacco Limited, Mercure Vientiane, Vientiane Dog Paradise, Yokohama Japanese Restaurant, Hangout Restaurant, intown Restaurant, LV Imex, International Veterinary Centre, RDK Group, Tukata Vientiane Nursery, Super BBQ, Coco Bar, The Laotian Times, Soap4Life, Bounxouei Foundation, iVET, Saoban, Panyanivej Organic Farm, MyVet, Planet Internet, KPY, Terminal 8, Lao Lake House, Animal Doctors International with more being added as they are confirmed.

Tickets are $120 and are available at Crowne Plaza Vientiane (please ask for Rhandy), Vientiane Dog Paradise, Yokohama Japanese Restaurant, intown Restaurant, Hangout Restaurant, LV Imex, Bar the Way and directly from Vimaan Suan Foundation volunteers. Tables of 8 are available for $100 per person (total $800) if purchased before November 22, 2018. Credit card sales are available at HangOut Restaurant, intown Restaurant and LV Imex.

Securing Laos' 1st Animal Sanctuary, Friends of Fur Gather for Ball for Wall

Securing Laos' 1st Animal Sanctuary, Friends of Fur Gather for Ball for Wall

20USD per head discount for full table bookings

Friends of Fur Gathering at Ball for A Wall At Laos' First Animal Sanctuary

Authentic, Natural, Timeless: Lao Gifts, Souvenirs at Handicraft Festival ’18

Lao Handicraft Festival 2018

There is no doubt that Laos is a place with a multitude of natural and cultural wonders, experiences and delights and traditional handicraft wares to share with the nation and world.

Whether decorative or for daily use, the handmade items made by individuals, families and communities in this country can make great souvenirs or gifts for folk near and far.

Yet in our busy lives, it’s sometimes hard to get access to them all in the same place when you need them.

Fortunately, the Lao Handicraft Festival 2018 is here once again to solve all your Laos-related seasonal shopping dilemmas.

Awaiting inside are traditional and modern fashion, clothing and textiles and accessories in all kinds of natural materials to furniture, decor, tea, coffee and more.

Descending on the capital from provinces across the country are artisans bringing not only their skills but also their commitment to keeping multiethnic Lao traditions alive in old, new and increasingly entrepreneurial ways.

Laos has 49 officially recognized ethnic groups, each with its own unique take on craft styles and traditions, particularly noticeable through distinctive traditional clothing.

In addition to shopping, visitors to the festival can also enjoy fashion shows, craft demonstrations, workshops and product design competitions.

According to Tourism Laos, the festival is a platform for artisans to display and demonstrate craftsmanship that has been passed down from one generation to the next.

As well as selling their work, artists who exhibit their work at the festival enjoy the opportunity to share and celebrate their cultural heritage with visitors.

Ethnic patterns, motifs and techniques have a timeless appeal.

While international fashion may take inspiration from tribal designs and motifs, Lao handicraft are the authentic reflections of hundreds (if not thousands) of years of culture, artistry and skill.

Each year, over 200 artists from around the country travel to Vientiane to participate in the festival and sell an extensive variety of products including textiles, jewellery, non-timber and recycled products, pottery and many other cultural items.

Beautiful handmade pieces are on sale to suit all budgets, from inexpensive souvenirs to exquisite high-end collectables.

Food & beverage products such as coffee, tea, oils, juices, liquors & spices produced in Lao are also a key feature of the event.

So make your way down to Lao-ITECC exhibition hall today to take it all in, and don’t forget to spend generously; your hard-earned kip goes a long way in the hands of the hardworking folk of these communities, allowing them to access the products and services that allow them to continue making the most of the opportunities afforded them and keep fine traditions alive for the next generation and beyond.
What: *Lao Handicraft Festival 2018*
Date: October 27th to November 4th, 2018
Time: 11:00-18:00 
Venue: Lao-ITECC (Vientiane Capital), Khampengmueang Rd (T4).

Lao Handicraft Festival 2018

Lao Handicraft Festival 2018

Lao handicraft Festival 2018

Lao Handicraft Festival 2018

Lao Handicraft Festival 2018

Lao Handicraft Festival 2018 (images via Laos Briefly)

 

 

 

Road to Tokyo2020 Paralympics via Catwalk as Athletes Make Model Efforts

Lao Paralympic Athletes

Tears of joy, pain and expectation; the road to Tokyo2020 Games, like all Olympics and Paralympics before them, is being paved with them, and particularly in the South-East Asian nation of Laos.

The efforts of aspiring Paralympic athletes as they strive to achieve personal bests and to represent their nations at the highest level have always resulted in the shedding of the proverbial “blood, sweat and tears” at locations from one corner of the globe to another.

The fashion industry might seem many metaphorical miles away from the sporting arena in form and function, but the will to compete and the struggle to break down barriers continues apace, in this case in the South-East Asian nation of Laos.

That was the case as Lao Fashion Week teamed up once again with Laos-active Japan NGO Asian Development with the Disabled Persons (ADDP) to showcase Laos’ parasports athletes alongside employees of inclusive social enterprise as amateur fashion models on Laos’ fashion’s biggest professional stage, working to break down barriers to participation in across society.

Pumped to the powerful voice of emerging Lao teen singing sensation Alita Alounsavath to the strains of “never give up, no, no”, the crowd in the Lao capital rose to their feet to applaud the participants and the efforts of the participants and the NGO that supports their struggle to make dreams a reality against the odds.

Alita Alounsavath

Alita Sings up a storm at Lao Fashion Week for ADDP on Road to Tokyo 2020.

 

Adorned with creations by Japanese flower designer Norie, the models continued a long-running annual collaboration between LFW and ADDP to help make the show a reality. Among them was Pia, who represented Laos at the Rio 2016 Paralympics in powerlifting.

Indeed, the connection between sporting and socio-economic participation lies at the heart of the organisation’s mission. Initiatives of ADDP include the Parasports Promotion Project with support from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) which seeks to smooth the path to greater participation on the road to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics and beyond.

The project involves providing training and expertise from Japan and beyond to benefit parasports athletes and coaches in Laos to compete in multiple sports.

The program most recently saw Parasports Powerlifting training in Kyushu, Japan under experienced coach Takashi Jo before participating in Asia-pacific regional championships in the city of Kita-Kyushu.

Wheelchair basketball and goalball, an adapted sport for the vision impaired, also feature in the project.

The latter sport was the subject of a short film inspired by the life and sporting efforts of Lao goalball athlete Ms La Dalavong, whose young life was forever changed by an accident by war-era unexploded ordnance (UXO) before discovering a path forward through sport. A Lao New Wave Cinema production, the film visited the inspiring athlete in her home village and on the sporting court in Vientiane

Other ADDP initiatives include the sign-language friendly and inclusive Minna-no-Cafe where customers and staff alike can communicate with the hard of hearing.

The NGO also works with its employees to produce a range of popular cookies which are for sale at various outlets including the cafe.

ADDP was also a participant in efforts that saw the creation of a Lao-Japan Friendship Sakura Park in Viengxay district, Huaphan province planted with Japanese cherry blossom trees.

As in all nations, the participation of disabled persons in Laos comes up against various barriers of access, physical, social and institutional.

It is understood that greater participation for all people and profile of disability issues in Laos can be increased via ADDP initiatives and major events such as Lao Fashion Week. As in fashion, by celebrating the achievements of past and present participants and strengthening pathways, the dreams of the aspiring Paralympic competitors and fashion industry participants are nurtured alike.

For an industry often criticised as fickle and superficial, initiatives such as this prove the adage that fashion can have a big heart. I’m not crying… you’re crying! Somebody dry my eyes!

Images via Laos Briefly

     

Boy Wonder: Paris’ Prestigious ESMOD Fashion School Awaits Lao Young Design Wunderkind

Lao Fashion Week 2018

Fashion wunderkind Nanthaveth Buppha, known to friends and family by the nickname “Boy”, is getting set for Paris after taking top spot as Lao Young Designer 2018.

The Laotian Times was at Crowne Plaza Vientiane as the young fashionista took out the top spot among the five design aspirants awarded by the Lao Young Designers Project, an initiative of Lao Fashion Week.

The young designer is set to spend six months learning the trade at Paris ESMOD.

Runners-up were not left out. Singapore’s Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts will welcome first runner-up Mr Daovanh Inthavong for six months.

Mr Visaphon Keovilay (aka Candy) is set to spend an year studying at the London College of Design and Fashion’s Hanoi campus.

A 2-month course at Manila’s Fashion Institute of Phlippines followed by 2 months interning with designers awaits Ms Chindasanga Vongsouly.

Thai designers Pitnapat and Eaggamon in Bangkok will play host to two months of training for Mr Kee Phearkhamngon.

More images at Laos Briefly.

Wedding Fashion Show Promotes Lao Matrimonial Dress

A special wedding fashion show featuring a variety of Lao traditional costumes for grooms and their brides, as well as attire for wedding parties, was organised on Saturday at Vientiane Center, attracting a large number of interested spectators.

The event was described as colourful and meaningful because it was organised to present and promote Lao culture and traditions in relation to wedding ceremonies, showcasing traditional wedding attire for newly-weds as well as their family, friends and other attending guests.

Many fashion outlets which specialise in wedding fashion joined the event to showcase their best attire to interested members of the public.

The fashion show featured a variety of beautiful, colourful, and elegant traditional Lao silk costumes, including those worn by both women and men.

Before the fashion show started there was also a colourful demonstration of a groom’s procession and wedding ceremony which featured the main steps and rituals of a Lao wedding party.

The event was organised as part of the Laos Wedding Fair (lasting from October 29 to November 2) through cooperation between Phouvong Gold Store and Vientiane Center, aiming to promote Lao traditional costumes and their preservation.

The occasion was also timed to mark the celebration of the grand opening ceremony of the new Phouvong Gold Store within the Vientiane Center shopping complex.

The event was attended by Director of Vientiane Center, Mr. Sombath Siriphonevithaya, and Phouvong Gold Store director, Mr Phouvong Phamisith, the organising committee, officials, media personnel and members of the public.

The opening speech was delivered by Mr. Sombath, in which he expressed his impressions on holding the Laos Wedding Fair and fashion show and explained about the importance of the event and blessed the audience for this joyful occasion.

I am very happy to organise this important and meaningful event because it is a good way to promote Lao culture and preserve Lao textiles, especially wedding party costumes, which are very beautiful, charming, and identifiable. I hope you enjoy the fashion show and all the associated activities, he said.

Mr Phouvong said he was very pleased to organise the special fashion show because it meant that he could contribute to preserving the culture and traditions which Lao people have had since ancient times.

Lao people have very identifiable costumes which are different from other countries, especially our clothes made from silk; everyone enjoys dressing in them when attending social events, especially wedding parties.

So, we should preserve this tradition as well as possible. Seeing the importance of promoting and preserving our traditional costumes inspired us to hold this special event, Mr. Phouvong added.

Wedding parties are an important social event which Lao people have carried out from generation to generation.

Weddings are one among other traditions and social events, and also the most important moment of life for each new couple because it is the most special and meaningful time of their lives when they change their status from being single to married.

All relatives, friends, and colleagues are always invited to join wedding parties and they like to dress in Lao traditional costumes and the most popular ones are made from silk.

For the groom and his bride, they are always dressed in elegant full length suits and dresses fashioned from finely woven silk.

 

Source: Vientiane Times