If you have been following YEM's journey, you must be familiar with our pitch black Midnight Silk's inspiring story. It was the only traditional craft I found throughout my year of traveling around Vietnam, my home country, that not only met my extremely high standards for quality and sustainability but exceeded them. The only problem is, it is disappearing if we don't do something to save it.
When I decided to work with Midnight Silk, I knew it was a dying craft. What I didn't know was how fast it was dying.
A girlfriend said to me the other day as we were peacefully walking on the beach near my home: "You have it all figured out, I sometimes envy you." She had no idea. So I told her about the unwanted journey I had to take to get to where I am today: simply alive and slowly improving.
I don't have it all figured out, especially a year ago when Yem was just an idea and I was jobless.
f you search for Tan Chau silk village on the web and find articles saying it is thriving or reviving, don't be quick to believe. I learned it the hard way.
In December 2016, I left Los Angeles and went back to Vietnam full of excitement. I was thrilled about going to the craft villages to find the best artisans to make eco-friendly handmade products using my contemporary designs. For almost a year, I was led to so many announced "thriving craft villages" ( làng nghề in Vietnamese) only to find either no-one left doing the craft or families including children hand-making products using non-traditional chemicals and toxins.
Food has always been a big part of me and my adult identity. I love shopping for food, cooking food, eating food, sharing food with others and talking about food. However, recently as I have been spending the majority of my time with Yem and cutting back on time getting creative in the kitchen, somehow fashion has won over my heart again.
I find fashion sexy the same way I find food sexy. It's best when it's pure, simple, classic, created with care and integrity, and beautiful looking.