Cambodian culture inspired the DAOTEY logo. Our logo is a simplified silhouette of the Asian conical hat commonly worn by women, men and children across East Asia in countries like Indonesia, Vietnam, China, Laos, Philippines, and Cambodia. The hat is commonly known as the Vietnamese hat, however, it has got a number of names such as bamboo hat, straw hat, sedge hat, paddy hat, non-la or rice hat because people often wore the hat in the rice fields. It has been crafted for centuries to protect people from sunlight and rain thanks to the geometrical shape. Also, natural fibers have cooling properties, which is why people wear conical hats in tropical climates.
An artisan from Cambodia Maya Sorn produces handmade hats and she has introduced to us fascinating facts about the crafting process.
WHERE DID THE CONICAL HAT ORIGINATE?
It is believed that the hat originated in Vietnam over 3000 years ago. According to a legend, a Goddess has descended from the skies to protect mankind from a flood of rain. She wore a gigantic hat made from four palm leaves that protected herself from the rainstorm. Since then, Vietnamese make and wear conical hats from stitched palm leaves to protect themselves from the sun and rain. The tradition of crafting conical hats has spread throughout Asia.
“When something is handcrafted by an artisan...it has a legacy of stories, history, traditions, passed down through generations...a soulful feel” - Amanda North (D’arienzo, 2016). The quote perfectly describes the Cambodian hat craftsmanship that has been passed down through generations, with many artisans being able to preserve the old weaving technique. We have asked Maya Sorn what she thinks is the main reason her customers buy handmade hats, to which she answered: “Old weaving technique with modern touch, good quality, and style”.
HOW A CONICAL HAT IS MADE?
In some villages of Vietnam, the weaving technique is practiced for over 40 years. The palm leaves are first left to dry under the sun to become more durable. Next step is to iron the leaves to straighten the weaving material. The main frame is then made using bamboo sticks. Lastly, the palm stripes are attached to the rings of the frame that vary in diameter, to create a web-like structure. Interestingly, Maya Sorn uses seagrass to make her hats. ”I work together with village artisans in the south of Cambodia, in Kampot province. Our focus material is seagrass that is grown locally on wetland along the coastline in Cambodia''.
Maya Sorn says: “In my opinion, Cambodian craftsmanship will improve because young people tend to become aware of handmade and natural materials, for the hat that is still unique, stylish and useful due to tropical climate”
Similarly to the hats made by artisans mastering the authentic weaving techniques in Asia, DAOTEY bags are individually handcrafted by artisans in Spain that put great attention to detail, to deliver premium quality. DAOTEY encompasses an artisanal mindset by using natural materials and working with certified partner organizations to safeguard ethical standards.