"So you know I not excited when you say someone in America and in Texas will make design for us that is suitable for Thai people. I think that person know nothing about Thai and we get design with cowboys and George Bush. If you show me this without me knowing anything, I would say someone Thai made them. I think they fit Thai people well." - from an ethnic minority client in Hanoi, for a research project we're involved with.
We could not have been more happy with the above comment for the work we've done for a research project under the aegis of Penn State. Families and Communities in Transition is a control project studying the effects of western mass media upon human relations, family change, the shift from an agricultural to industrial economy, and population movement from rural to urban environments. The underlying premise is an understanding of how knowledge is imparted to younger generations, and how they apply that knowledge in their decision-making.
We started by understanding the most prominent cultural artifact of the very traditional, very rural, Tai people of Vietnam, where the studies are being conducted. Weaving techniques, motif, symbolism, color, have all been researched and used to create an identity that is familiar to the locals.