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The mountain magic of the Miao

By Chen Yingqun ( China Daily Europe )

Updated: 2015-05-15

Six years ago, Xia Hua, the founder of the fashion company Eve Group, went on a trip to the mountains in Guizhou province, Southwest China. There, she says, she came across Miao craftswomen who amazed her with their beautiful embroidery.

"They didn't speak Mandarin, and they couldn't even write their own names, but their creativity was stunning," Xia says.

"Modern designers sketch stuff on computers, but these people carry it all in their brains. I decided to bring them to the outside world, but it was like a running race with modernization."

Many of these craftswomen have had to abandon their skills as their hometowns are overtaken by tourism, which is more lucrative. Xia says she paid a lot for their work and built a museum in the area to exhibit it as art. She also brought Eve's designers into the mountains to work with them. Now Eve collaborates with more than 1,000 Miao embroiderers.

Xia has taken their work to exhibitions and runway shows in Milan, London and Paris, where they have received great acclaim.

"Every time we hold an exhibition overseas, the reaction from global designers is great respect and admiration for these artworks from old crafts folk in the mountains whose value had been overlooked in China, so I really want to help this art survive."

Xia says Chinese literature and writing are passions of hers, and she dreams of exposing elements of Chinese culture and art though her products. Eve will have artworks on display at the Milan Expo soon.

Xia also opened a designer space in Parkview Green, a shopping mall in Beijing, which shows its collaboration with 38 international and local designers.

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