Made in Vietnam: Designer Vu Thao and Her Slow Fashion Label Kilomet109

Vu Thao is the designer behind the sustainable Vietnam fashion brand Kilomet109. Here's a look at Thao's studio and her newly opened boutique in Hanoi.

Behind the scenes of my favourite Vietnam fashion brand — Kilomet109. I was lucky enough to visit designer Vu Thao in her Hanoi studio in 2017, and again in her brand-new flagship shop in 2018. Here’s a look at one of Vietnam’s premier slow fashion brands.

 

I love visiting and documenting creative spaces whenever I travel. So when an opportunity came up to visit the home studio of Vu Thao—the designer behind sustainable Vietnam fashion brand Kilomet109—I jumped at the chance. A few months later, I was lucky enough to still be around for the opening of Kilomet109’s flagship store in Hanoi’s Tay Ho area.

 


Looking for things to buy in Hanoi? Here’s my round-up of the best handmade and ethical Hanoi souvenirs and gift shops—including Kilomet109.

 

Just like Kilomet109 clothes, both Thao’s studio and shopfront are immaculate! Here’s a peek inside.

 

Vu Thao is the designer behind the sustainable Vietnam fashion brand Kilomet109. Here's a look at Thao's studio and her newly opened boutique in Hanoi. | © Emily Lush 2017

Visiting the Kilomet109 Studio

It was my second rendezvous with Megan and Gab of Walk Sew Good, who I last saw at the start of their journey around Southeast Asia in Phnom Penh. While the girls spent the afternoon interviewing and filming with Thao, I sat in the background, listening to stories about her collaborations with different ethnic minority communities in Northern Vietnam. Thao’s studio is absolutely incredible: a living museum filled with natural dye ingredients, craft tools, a gorgeous collection of antique hill tribe textiles, and a long rack of Kilomet 109 designs. I was in my element—and very glad I had decided to bring my camera along.

I wrote a feature about Walk Sew Good for the latest issue of Peppermint magazine, which goes on sale in Australia this week. I also wanted to share a few photos from Thao’s studio—surely one of the coolest creative spaces in Hanoi—here on the blog.

 

Vu Thao is the designer behind the sustainable Vietnam fashion brand Kilomet109. Here's a look at Thao's studio and her newly opened boutique in Hanoi. | © Emily Lush 2017
Vu Thao is the designer behind the sustainable Vietnam fashion brand Kilomet109. Here's a look at Thao's studio and her newly opened boutique in Hanoi. | © Emily Lush 2017
Vu Thao is the designer behind the sustainable Vietnam fashion brand Kilomet109. Here's a look at Thao's studio and her newly opened boutique in Hanoi. | © Emily Lush 2017
Vu Thao is the designer behind the sustainable Vietnam fashion brand Kilomet109. Here's a look at Thao's studio and her newly opened boutique in Hanoi. | © Emily Lush 2017
Vu Thao is the designer behind the sustainable Vietnam fashion brand Kilomet109. Here's a look at Thao's studio and her newly opened boutique in Hanoi. | © Emily Lush 2017
Vu Thao is the designer behind the sustainable Vietnam fashion brand Kilomet109. Here's a look at Thao's studio and her newly opened boutique in Hanoi. | © Emily Lush 2017
Vu Thao is the designer behind the sustainable Vietnam fashion brand Kilomet109. Here's a look at Thao's studio and her newly opened boutique in Hanoi. | © Emily Lush 2017
Vu Thao is the designer behind the sustainable Vietnam fashion brand Kilomet109. Here's a look at Thao's studio and her newly opened boutique in Hanoi. | © Emily Lush 2017
Vu Thao is the designer behind the sustainable Vietnam fashion brand Kilomet109. Here's a look at Thao's studio and her newly opened boutique in Hanoi. | © Emily Lush 2017

 

Visiting Kilomet109’s retail space in Hanoi

About six months after I visited Thao’s home studio, she opened her own retail space in Tay Ho (West Lake). I’m so glad I found time to visit the Kilomet109 shop before we left Hanoi—it’s truly one of the most beautiful retail spaces I’ve ever seen! The attention to detail in everything from the customised clothing racks to the embossed cupboards is lovely. Not only are there loads of Kilomet109 designs on display, there are also a few trinkets I recognise from Thao’s home studio—weaving shuttles, bundles of indigo-dyed threads, and fabric swatches.

Here’s a little look at the Kilomet109 store in Hanoi.

 

Vu Thao is the designer behind the sustainable Vietnam fashion brand Kilomet109. Here's a look at Thao's studio and her newly opened boutique in Hanoi.

Vu Thao is the designer behind the sustainable Vietnam fashion brand Kilomet109. Here's a look at Thao's studio and her newly opened boutique in Hanoi.

Vu Thao is the designer behind the sustainable Vietnam fashion brand Kilomet109. Here's a look at Thao's studio and her newly opened boutique in Hanoi.

 

If you’re interested in learning more about Thao and Kilomet109, check out this profile recently published by The Kindcraft.

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