In love with Vietnam

A designer's love for Vietnam’s brocade

Mesmerized by brocade material, Cynthia Mann decided to settle down in Vietnam after staying for a short time to help her friend complete a documentary project. The Australian designer brought the fashion brand “Future Traditions” which has impressed many customers, mostly foreigners living in Vietnam. 
In Australia, Cynthia Mann once was the producer and artistic director of several dramas and movies. Being a daughter of a fashion designer and a graphic designer, Cynthia Mann lived in an artistic environment from an early age. She learned how to sew with many kinds of fabrics. While participating in film productions, Cynthia was the designer of many costumes.

In 2014, while making a movie with friends in Vietnam, Cynthia had a chance to meet and make friends with some ethnic minorities. Cynthia noticed that the patterns on fabric reflected the identity and culture of each ethnic group, such as the Thai, Mong and Dao. With encouragement from her mother, Cynthia decided to settle down in Vietnam and began researching the use of brocade fabrics in her fashion designs.

In the early days in Vietnam, Cynthia found it difficult to communicate with the locals because of the language barrier. However, she soon received a lot of help from friends who used to live here. There are also Vietnamese friends to help Cynthia learn more about the people and customs of the 54 ethnic groups.

Mesmerized by brocade material, Cynthia Mann decided to settle down in Vietnam.

Cynthia Mann is making embroidery patterns on Future Traditions' clothing.

 Cynthia Mann poses for a photo with her Vietnamese friend Sam Thi Tinh, the owner of Hoa Tien Brocade.  

Cynthia Mann with brocade products of the Mong people.

 Cynthia Mann and the Dao people in a trip. 


“The Future Traditions brand is not only mine but is also the creation of many people who have helped me since the first days. I've spent a lot of time building the brand. It is also my desire to contribute to a future for the traditional textile industry of Vietnam”, said Cynthia.

In her designs, Cynthia often comes up with ideas for outfits first and then goes to places such as Ha Giang, Sapa, Mai Chau and Nghe An to find brocade patterns compatible with the designs. After that, she cuts fabrics and gives them to Vietnamese tailors to complete the product.

Future Traditions customs are harmoniously coordinated sets. The products are the combinations of different colors and textures for practicality. 

Cynthia Mann uses patterns from discarded ceramic pieces to create brocade patterns. 

She sketches a product from 
pieces of broken ceramic.

Cynthia Mann has made discarded ceramic pieces into beautiful jewelry accessories. 

Ceramic jewelry made by Cynthia Mann. 

Future Traditions products.

Cynthia has a habit of collecting broken pottery fragments. “It took me many years to collect these fragments. Every trip to the provinces of Vietnam, I pick up a few pieces of broken ceramic that I think could be used in my designs. I have traveled through most of Vietnam. The accessories under the brand Future Traditions are the ones made from the broken pottery fragments", Cynthia said.

Cynthia often designs and sends jewelry products to Tran Huy Hanh, an experienced jeweler in Vietnam. Few people know that it is recycled from discarded pottery pieces. Cynthia is currently working on a new project which will apply Japanese techniques to create new products made from gold, silver, and old ceramics.

Cynthia often introduces her designs through the official website, Facebook, the Manzi art coffee space in Hanoi, and the rooftop showroom at the Hanoi Cooking center, which attracts many expatriates living in Vietnam.

Story: Ngan Ha  -  Photos: Khanh Long & Files