Fashion with a Twist

Craft Link’s Vietnamese artisans

Add a new twist to your spring accessories this year with a hand-dyed crinkle scarf made by Vietnamese artisans from Craft Link, a non-profit organization that works with ethnic minority artisans, street kids and craftspeople with disabilities.

Craft Link was established in 1996 by a group of international nongovernmental organizations, and the Mennonite Central Committee, Oxfam, and the Ford Foundation, to help generate income for poor people and to aid traditional handicraft groups find markets in Vietnam’s changing economy.

As part of the organization’s mission and goals, artisans are assisted with designing new products and how to approach new marketing opportunities. Many of these artisans live in the rural and mountainous areas and are comprised from the numerous ethnic minorities that live throughout the country. Craft Link often sends a team of project designers and project officers to work in these selected villages and provide training in management, accounting, costing, pricing and product development.

Once the items are produced, the team helps in marketing and selling the handicrafts locally, but also exports them to fair trade organizations and retailers internationally. Craft Link’s mission is cultural preservation, public education on traditional Vietnamese handicrafts, and income generation for small-scale artisans. The organization offers artisans tools, interest-free loans, education, literacy classes and training.

12 Small things by HAND/EYE is among the many retailers who have the pleasure and honor to carry handicrafts made by Craft Link’s artisans. Fashion savvy shoppers can purchase and show-off the fabulous hand-dyed silk scarves with a crinkled texture. To create this effect, the artisans twisted the fabric while it dried. Working closely with the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology in Hanoi, Craft Link helps preserve numerous traditional craft skills such as weaving and embroidery of these tribal groups, puppet making, and traditional ceramics. Arriving as twisted ropes the silk stretches out to 70 inches x 30 inches of softly crinkled scarves. To care for them, simply hand-wash in cold water and line dry. Colors range from tulip pink in bright orange, fuchsia and mauve or desert sunset in vibrant red and yellow with gray contrast.

For more information about Craf Link, please visit http://www.craftlink.com.vn.  To purchase the crinkly scarves, please visit, www.handeyeshop.com/

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