Rice paddies are iconic when it comes to Vietnam. Perhaps even more iconic is the conical rice paddy hat, or coolie hat worn on the tops of the rice field workers’ heads to keep cool. I love it how each place has its own unique fashion. I find it annoying to see Gucci or Burberry stores in cities such as Ho Chi Minh or Bogota, Colombia. I suppose that’s globalization at work. I always enjoy purchasing some local and authentic piece of clothing while visiting a far off place.
One interesting story of clothing adaptation taken from a particular culture is the current TOMS shoe craze. I’m told the founder of the company was a contestant on “The Amazing Race.” While in Argentina, he admired the interesting look of the Gaucho shoe called alpagatas. Later after returning to the States, he started a company called TOMS that manufactures these shoes taken from Argentina. I now see the alpagata knock-offs all over the New York Area.
Maybe I should start a Vietnamese coolie hat company?