And this bag embroidered (by machine nowadays, not by hand anymore) by the women of the Hmong hill tribes in Thailand is the result.
It all began a few weeks ago during one of our near-daily late afternoon MSN chats. I was showing her pictures of these colourful palship bracelets and she went, "Wah, so ETHNIC!" and we both burst into silly giggles.
"ETHNIC" is a funny word to us girls who grew up in Singapore - "a cultural melting pot", that's how our Tourism Board likes to describe the sunny island. We always laugh when fashion makes a U-turn and designers in the West are inspired by Eastern traditional dress and crafts again. We're old enough to have witnessed its return many many times and we still find it funny each time because the "must-have" items are usually things that we can find in our "backyard" - India...Indonesia...Thailand...China...Nepal - for cheap.
Take these embroidered bags, for example. I used to buy these imports at very affordable prices at the pasar malam ("night market" in Malay) in Singapore. Now, look at how much they cost on this site. Just because some it was seen on some celebrity. For US$2000, both Poochie and I and all our gal pals can have a life-time's supply of the made-in-Asia originals! That we much prefer anyway.
And the recent ikat trend. Haha. I think, back home at my folks, in one of my packed-away boxes, are the ikat harem pants and bags that I bought in Indonesia in the 90s. At S$5 per pop. And lengths of the woven fabric straight from the weaver's home-"factory".
Lately on the internet, I see clothes and bags made out of ikat-print fabric sold for crazy amount of cash. I mean, it's ikat-print! Not even the real woven material!
Anyway, back to the bag. All the "ETHNIC!" talk that afternoon made us embroidery lovers want one. (More so for me after drooling over the one that Ms Carpet bought home from her Thai holiday last year.) I mean, it sure shouts "ETHNIC!" loud! And it's been a while since we've done "ETHNIC!". Haha.
So my shopping challenge was for Poochie was to find a pasar malam but she said that they are a rare sight these days and put her super Ebay-ing skills to good use for a pal who's lost her Ebay mojo. "A hot pink one! As little black on it as possible!" was my brief and that's exactly what I got! Direct from Thailand. Not as cheap as at the old pasar malam but many times cheaper than US$2000. It will look so good against my Summer whites!
And it's Poochie's birthday today! Say "Happy Birthday!" to my pal/efficient "personal shopper"!