Today, I share with you the Hmong Motifs printed pattern that I created for Mai&Co. To many, it may look like colorful geometric shapes repeated in a pattern, but at a much closer look, it’s a combination of symbolic Hmong motifs found in traditional Hmong embroidery, batik and paj ntaub.
It is believed that centuries ago, the Hmong, who lived in China, used motifs and symbols to communicate with each other and tell stories about their culture and daily life. They were forced to conform to Chinese culture and traditions, and as a result, were forbidden to use their own language. They began to sew these symbols onto their clothing, which served not just as decorative elements, but to preserve their language and tell their stories.
Traditionally, the techniques used in Hmong embroidery and batik were passed on from one generation to the next and became a main form of expression and identity. Because of war and persecution, the Hmong migrated into different geographic locations and many of these traditions evolved or were lost and became obsolete.
Inspired by the traditional motifs and symbols that make up the patterns in Hmong textiles and clothing, you’ll find my modern forms on the many pieces that I’ve designed for Mai&Co. My goal is to connect and transform this old tradition into modern fashion, in hopes of resonating with current and future generations.
To learn more about Hmong motifs, traditional Hmong textiles and embroidery, you can visit these free resources:
I’d love to know what your thoughts and interpretations are. Please leave me a comment below!