A seamless blending of traditional techniques with modern technology that proposes to tackle fashion’s overproduction through the preservation of cultural skills and values, Lam’s 12-look line-up, entitled ‘Going Back To The Present’, was inspired by Dong cloth, an ancient fabric from Southern China. Observing the dyeing, steaming and pounding of the textile during two research trips to the Chinese province of Guizhou, one of the few locations where the fabric is still made, Lam recognised the potential for the mass production of Dong cloth due to its sustainable manufacturing process.
“Dong cloth is crafted using a number of eco-friendly raw ingredients, such as herbs, cowhide and egg white.”
Woven by Dong people – one of the 56 officially recognised ethnic groups in China – Dong cloth is crafted using a number of eco-friendly raw ingredients, such as herbs, cowhide and egg white. Once completed, the cloth is then tinted a rich shade of blue through the use of natural indigo dye, and typically sewn in nearby hills. “The village was filled with the sounds of Dong women pounding Dong clothes on rocks with wooden hammers in order to give the fabrics a shiny effect,” recalls Lam. “Each household had a unique way of creating Dong cloth with slight variations in the processing steps.” Nowadays, however, Dong cloth has fallen out of popularity among native Dong people due to less labour intensive fabrics being readily available and is instead reserved for the creation of festival costumes and sold as souvenirs to visitors.