Vietnamese conical hat or better known as Non la has come into casual life not just a part of Vietnam national custom but a cultural trait. For centuries, conical hats or Non la have symbolized Vietnamese women and the Vietnamese countryside, expressing the simple beauty of the country’s femininity and their hard work and love for their family. The hats were worn by women everywhere, not only to protect them from the sun and rain but also to enhance their beauty. 

The craft of making Non la in Chuong village dated back three decades ago. Photo: Dang Linh 

The most famous place for conical hat making in northern Vietnam is Chuong Village. The craft of making the Vietnamese traditional hat dates back three centuries in the village. Nowadays, Chuong Village, where is over 30 kilometers away from Hanoi’s center is frequently visited by local and international tourists not only to buy hats but also to see how the hats are made.

Conical hats can be made by Chuong Village’s artisan all year round, but summer is the peak season. Each family prepares lots of raw materials to make thousands of hats. There are many parts to the hat-making process: some families focus on leave making, some on hats, and others on laths.

Besides the Non la, other types of hats are also made in Chuong Village, such as Non Ba Tam (palm hats with strap tassels) or Non Thung (hats in the shape of baskets).

According to artisan Le Van Tuy, in order to meet the taste of tourists and consumers, local artisans have to be innovative. They might combine cotton or straw or other materials on a single hat, paint them with a lotus pattern or other funky decorative patterns, and so on.

A unique creation of Chuong Village’s artisans: Conical hats are strung together to adorn Vietnamese-style wooden houses, old houses, or restaurants. 
Elders in the village gathered to make conical hats. They take advantage of the post-harvest time to make the hats. 
The trade of making conical hats in Chuong Village helps villagers increase their incomes and improve living standards. 
Innovating the products is the only way to develop the traditional handicraft villages and increase incomes for workers, according to conical hat-making artisan Le Van Tuy from Chuong village. 

Chuong village conical hats are diverse in designs, helping to enhance the beauty and value of this traditional hat for women.

Conical hats of Chuong village are now available in every part of the country and exported to China, Japan, and European countries. Thanks to efforts by Chuong village artisans, the craft of hat making will be preserved and passed down to the next generations.