Mitsein is a small design and manufacturing enterprise based in Ho Chi Minh City. All our products are unique and handmade by disadvantaged communities in Vietnam and Cambodia, using sustainable local materials and custom designed fabrics. We stand for fair pay and working conditions; the continuation of traditional craft; and the move towards evermore sustainable practices.
Mitsein is a young enterprise but we have firm beliefs. This is what we stand for:
Rattan itself has a huge potential as a driving force for sustainability in SE Asia. It is a non-timber forest product so a healthy rattan industry is a good incentive to preserve the forests.
In the past Vietnam’s rattan has been exported as a raw product, we want to be part of the move towards production and value adding here in Vietnam; and towards much needed economic development of forest communities.
We use sustainable rattan sourced from Quang Nam Province, where for the last 5 years 40 villages have been taking part in a WWF program; learning sustainable harvesting and clean processing techniques.
When business like Mitsein support this program by insisting on sustainable rattan, they reinforce the move towards a rattan industry with cleaner practices and more longevity.
Mitsein collaborates with communities of artisans in Vietnam and Cambodia because we see an opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives. We have chosen to work in Quang Nam, Vietnam and Takeo, Cambodia; two regions that still have low income averages and an ongoing struggle to resist the pull towards cities and factory work. We support the continuation of craft tradition and sustainable village life.
Our artisans are provided consistent work as well as the choice to balance handicraft with the demands of farming and raising a family.
We have visited our partners and artisans on-site and ensured artisans are paid well above International Fair Wage Guide recommendations in a safe and healthy environment.
During the 1800s, Cambodian Ikat enjoyed a reputation as one of the finest fabrics in the world.
Weavers in Takeo still produce the fabric using the same labour intensive process that begins with hand-tying a few strands at a time according to the design. This thread is then hand-dyed, untied, spooled and woven on a hand and foot operated loom. The Ikat process is outlined in the slideshow below.
The Ikat tradition is passed down from generation to generation. Ikat draws its unique beauty from random variations that occur in the fabric as it is woven. Threads shift slightly this way and that, creating a beautiful play of irregularity that captures the allure of this region.
Sarah is a designer from Melbourne currently based in Vietnam, where she was originally stationed as an AVI volunteer. In this position she worked in various rural areas of Southern Vietnam, developing designs in bamboo, water-hyacinth, rattan, silk and batik; this sparked an intense interest in the varied and abundant natural materials of the region, and the awe inspiring pieces the artisans create with them. Since founding Mitsein in early 2014 Sarah has developed her own range of furniture and home wares true to her passion for sustainability and appreciation for handmade objects.
Luke Sharrock is a visual designer who has created Mitsein’s identity, designed our site and other collateral and collaborated on the design for our first custom fabric range “freshly squeezed”.