Skillful Tailoring in Trach Xa Village: ‘Ao Dai’ as a Way of Life

Knowhow of a perfect Vietnamese traditional ‘ao dai’ comes to the tailors in Hanoi's suburb village almost naturally, contributing to enhancing the beauty of the Vietnamese women.

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Hundreds-years-old Craft Village

For centuries, Trach Xa village has preserved and showcased the beauty of traditional Vietnamese costumes through the craftsmanship of its tailors.

Charming Vietnamese girls in ao dai dress

Charming Vietnamese girls in ao dai dress. Photo: Thanh Hai

Legend has it that Emperor Dinh Tien Hoang fell in love with a beautiful girl from Trach Xa village, who later became his wife and used her creativity to design outfits for the royal court.

Trach Xa village, located 60km away from Hanoi, has been renowned for its expertise in making traditional ao dai for centuries. Nguyen Thi Sen, an artisan from the village, played a significant role in teaching the art of embroidery and creating intricate attire to the villagers. She had previously served the royal family during the Dinh Dynasty from 968 to 980.

Since the early days, Trach Xa villagers have traveled across the country, taking their measuring tape, needle, threads, and scissors to ply their trade. This practice continues to this day, with many Trach Xa tailors setting up shops or working for their fellow villagers in Hanoi.

Skilled Tailors

Artisan Nghiem Van Dat, Trach Xa ao dai-making village

Artisan Nghiem Van Dat, Trach Xa ao dai-making village. Photo courtesy of the artisan

Nghiem Van Dat, the owner of Ao Dai Tien Dat – Trach Xa tailoring shop in Hanoi, is considered one of the most successful ao dai tailors from Trach Xa village. He learned the art of sewing and design from a young age and has established a thriving business. Dat is also the Chairman of Trach Xa Craft Village Association.

Despite living and working in Hanoi for their entire lives, Trach Xa tailors hold their village dear. Shops that bear the name “Trach” in Hanoi are likely owned by someone from Trach Xa, such as Phuc Trach, Vinh Trach, and My Trach. The tailoring of ao dai requires immense skill, patience, and attention to detail, which the artisans from Trach Xa possess.

A Hanoian in ao dai tailor-made by artisan Nghiem Van Dat

A Hanoian in ao dai tailor-made by artisan Nghiem Van Dat. Photo: June Studio

Honoring the Beauty of Vietnamese Women

What sets Trach Xa’s ao dai apart is its cutting and sewing techniques. The tailors of Trach Xa village have inherited their cutting secrets through generations, resulting in impeccable craftsmanship. The handmade sewing and embroidery that go into making Trach Xa ao dai make them truly special and exquisite.

The ao dai was made by artisan Van Dat

The ao dai was made by artisan Van Dat. Photo: Ao dai Tien Dat – Trach Xa

Trach Xa tailors treat ao dai making as an art form, emphasizing the curves of the woman’s body. They carefully choose the fabric and expertly arrange the motifs to create harmonious and eye-catching designs. The process relies heavily on manual techniques, with hand-stitching and hand-embroidering playing a crucial role.

Trach Xa ao dai has even gained international recognition, with foreign tourists, including those from Japan, Korea, China, America, and the UK, often ordering custom-made ao dai from Trach Xa tailors during their visits to Vietnam.

Throughout its history, Trach Xa village has preserved its identity and thriving ao dai tailoring industry. The dedication, passion, and skills passed down through generations have made Trach Xa ao dai a symbol of the beauty and elegance of Vietnamese women.