The "yem" was the traditional undergarment Vietnamese women wore centuries ago. Throughout the years, because of its simple style and practicality, it has managed to stay popular in Vietnamese ladies' style repertoire. It has developed from an undergarment to a piece of clothing that can be worn to many functions, from casual to dressy.
YEM stands for authenticity, versatility and timelessness. It is sexy yet classy. It is about honoring traditions while staying relevant.
I was living a "good life" in sunny California by many standards, earning a six-figure salary with great benefits. One day, I realized a hard truth; I was unhappy and unfulfilled. I quit my corporate job and went back to Vietnam, my home country, without a plan.
There, I fell back in love with traditional crafts, something I was fascinated with as a kid. Unfortunately, I quickly discovered that these crafts either no longer exist or have become distastefully commercialized, which means chemicals, toxins, and labor abuse.
After almost a year of searching, right before giving up, miracles lead me to Tan Chau Village, where there was ONE family still making silk the traditional way, from start to finish. It happened to be the best silk I had ever felt, which was not a surprise as the village was once known for making silk for Vietnamese royalty.
The only problem was the family was struggling to keep the craft alive.
As a true admirer of Tan Chau silk and also someone who deeply cares about preserving traditional crafts, I took it upon myself to do everything in my power to let the family keep making silk, bring back the silk village and restore Vietnam's silk making reputation.
(Photo by Elle Vietnam 11/2017 issue)