Traditional products with contemporary designs
High quality homeware and fashion products and contemporary designs produced in Pho Trach village in Thua Thien Hue province have been exported around the world.
Tatami mats are a traditional form of Japanese flooring. Even in the modern Japanese lifestyle, most families have at least one Washitsu, or tatami room in their house, flat or apartment. Tatami mat production in Japan has become increasingly mechanized, and China is also exporting large quantities of low cost, mass-produced tatami mats. However, demand for a traditional, high quality hand-made tatami mats with new and intricate weaving patterns remains high.
The local rush grass used for tatami mats has long been closely attached to the daily life of Pho Trach villagers. The grass common to this province mainly grows along coastal and lagoon areas. Thanks to natural conditions, the grass is more prolific here than in other areas. For a over a millennia the villagers have harvested this grass to weave flooring mats due to its naturally durable characteristic. Some have considered this variety of grass as the Golden Grass of Vietnam allowing for the development of this special craft.
The ready availability of high quality tatami materials and the existence of long-standing weaving skills created a terrific opportunity for the rush grass producers and weavers of Pho Trach to enter the niche market of producing high quality hand-made tatami mats in both traditional and modern designs and sizes.
Additionally, the same raw materials and weaving techniques can be applied to develop a range of high quality and attractive tatami fashionware that are becoming ever more popular as an environmental – friendly fashion. In particular are items such as handbags, basketry and hats. The production of the tatami mat facings and fashionware as well as the rice straw filling are undertaken by local households belonging to PhoTrach Cooperative who are working together to make a sustainable livelihood.
The predominant buyers for tatami fashion-wares are the wealthier, trendsetting Vietnamese, ex-patriots residing throughout Vietnam and foreign tourists to Hue and Hanoi. With the rise in awareness of the need for environmentally friendly fashions, the market for Pho Trach’s traditional, high quality fabric bindings, linings and highlights will become increasingly attractive to the contemporary eco-friendly consumers around the world