Story from The Word Vietnam By Matt Cowan, Photos by Julie Vola

The story behind the use of hemp in the Hmong culture of northern Vietnam is more than 5,000 years old. Throughout their history, the Hmong have made the use of the plant, cannabis, and the weaving of its fibres as an indispensable part of their culture.

“I’ve always loved indigo and batik fabric from Sapa, so meeting these women and sharing a few days with them was great,” says Julie. “When you witness how long it takes and how much work it is for them to produce these beautiful fabrics, you come to understand why the items are expensive. You feel bad for every time you’ve chosen the cheaper option, and something which is lesser quality.”