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“The story behind the product is so important in today’s world,” said Smith. The key is “to educate the buying population about the work that goes into each piece and the fact that these skills have been passed down through the generations”.

The contrast between the mass-market textiles found at the night market and the appeal of traditional methods is further highlighted at Luang Prabang’s non-profit Fibre to Fabric Gallery. Here, exhibitions document the production and cultural significance of textiles from around Laos. One example, a black and red Hmong batik skirt, had taken around six months to make by hand. With such sheer craftsmanship and unique, complex artistry on display, it is easy to see what makes Lao textiles so special – and so sought after.

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