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Decoding the Vietnamese attraction of Lanh My A silk

“Accompanied by you wearing Lanh My A silk
My market trip crossing the river seemed to be reduced”

Many times, these lines have been hummed by men and women on boat trips.

Back in the 50s of the last century, there would be no one throughout Six Provinces of Southern Vietnam that had not known about Lanh My A – the famous fabric of Tan Chau silk land in An Giang. Lanh My A has been renowned from near and far for being the glossy black silk, the desirable “treasure” of any girl.

Lan My A silk is made from only the best silk threads, and this is why it is glossy. The silk fabric must be dipped into the dyeing solution about 100 times to absorb the color completely, and prevent it from fading over time. The dyeing process takes about 40 days, and is considered the most important step of the production.

In 1998, the artist Tám Lăng’s son decided to revive the production of Lanh My A and introduce it to other parts of the world too, which turned out harder than he thought. He wasn’t able to find all the correct materials for dying until 2003, when he successfully managed to produce his first batch. So far, he has made the silk in 15 different colors. Lanh My A is still dyed with natural materials, which many find especially attractive. Today, the colorful Lanh My A is famous outside of Vietnam and the supply can’t keep up with the growing demand.

It is no coincidence that Tan Chau’s silk was enthroned as the “queen” of Vietnamese silk, which was the desire of countless ladies and women in the past. It is either not by accident that today these fabrics are chosen as the material for many famous fashion collections by domestic and foreign designers. A traditional Lanh My A cloth must fully converge three factors: must be woven by satin-8 technique on a wooden frame, must be made 100% from silkworms’ filament, and must be dyed from mặc nưa fruit (Diospyros Mollis).

To make Lanh My A, the weaver has to go through 6 stages: throwing silk, winding, jointing, winding pirn, weaving and dyeing. Because it is entirely handcrafted with natural materials, Lanh My A silk has a mysterious and smooth black shade. Not only that, but this type of silk is also famous for the feelings it brings as being cool in summer, warm in winter, even with just a thin layer. Notably, the more wearing, the more beauteous the silk is, the more washing, the glossier it is.

In the past, when silk fabrics were still on the throne, everywhere in Tan Chau, there were strips of green mulberries and immense silk drying fields everywhere. But since the day it gradually lost the position, fewer people are still passionate about the profession.

In order to preserve Lanh My A silk to this day, Tan Chau people have to go through the harsh trials of time as well as market fluctuations with a passion for the profession and an ardour for the homeland’s cloth. Lanh My A silk is so precious, but is it just a ” reputation upon a while”? The fact has proved that Lanh My A is still existing and shining, even brighter and rising higher than its passed golden age after many ups and downs.

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