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Artist Statement

Laotian textiles are appreciated worldwide by experts and consumers for their craftsmanship, and even more for their close connection to the lives and destiny of its people. They are not simply pieces of cloth to wear. They are a statement of life, happiness, joy, and sometimes of reflection and mourning.

A national of Laos, I design and create contemporary textiles with firm roots in Laotian traditional styles and weaving traditions. Influenced by the spiritual power of Buddhism and its many symbols enshrined in centuries-old art, the motifs embodied in my textiles reflect humankind's eternal longing for happiness and enlightenment. My work depicts a diverse assortment of pieces to echo the rich history and cultural heritage of Laos, and represents the artistic inspirations and manual skills of an era long gone by. All pieces are made from silk and/or cotton, naturally dyed and hand-woven on the traditional Lao loom.

My products include outstanding fashion objects, like dresses, skirts, jackets and shirts, giving new life to vintage textiles by integrating them into uniquely designed formal and every-day wear. Contemporary art-to-wear combines traditional Asian styles and also Western influences from around the globe and from my current home, New York/New Jersey. At the recent Bellevue Arts Museum Fair 2011, my designs were honored with the prestigious Carol Duke Artist Awards of Excellence.


About the Brand

Today, Lao Design offers one-of-a-kind fashion, unique formal and every-day wear integrating Laotian and Western design. The brand reflects the special history and tradition of producing quality textiles in Laos. Bounkhong continues that tradition by producing contemporary pieces that are hand-woven on traditional looms, reviving century-old Laotian weaving traditions and at the same time giving new life to vintage textiles. Dresses, skirts, jackets and shirts, are wearable pieces of art uniquely designed by Bounkhong.

The company also offers decorative and wearable shawls along with stylish scarves in different sizes, colors and patterns. Home goods such as wall-hangings, bedcovers, quilts, pillows and cushions, are also available in unique patterns/motifs, various colors and patterns, combining traditional Asian and Western styles.

Bounkhong greatly appreciates all the opportunities he has had to participate in prestigious, well-known art shows through out the United States.

Forever inspirational, and loving mother, Khampasong Signavong.


Bounkhong Signavong, Designer

The principal designer and founder of Lao Design, Hai Ngeun Mai Kham, is Bounkhong Signavong. Since the early 2000s, he has resided and works out of New York City and New Jersey. Before arriving in New York, he lived and worked in Vientiane, the capital of Laos, where he was born in 1966 and grew up. Bounkhong is the youngest of seven children and enjoys staying in touch with his family. His parents worked as farmers, teacher and later on, small business owners. Although there were tumultuous times in Laos, his family managed to support him and provided a good quality university education. He was raised in true Buddhist traditions and even gained some experience as a monk. After university, Bounkhong worked different jobs, including jobs as a waiter, hotel clerk, teacher, and 8 years in the administration of the national UNICEF Office. Yet his passion has always been textiles, which developed into a love for fashion. As a youngster, he learned through his family to distinguish between quality textiles,which were the result of long weeks of hard work by weavers, and the products hastily produced on machines, that were usually sold at the morning market.

In the late 80s, he started collecting antique and vintage textiles. He often visited Luang Prabang, the previous capital and seat of the former Laotian King. Bounkhong traveled to the countryside where the hill tribes people gladly showed him their weaving traditions. He learned from them how to wear their garments, and buy samples of their outstanding work.

In the early 90s, he began to show his collection to friends, colleagues and visitors. They encouraged him to display the many interesting pieces permanently and to sell some to visitors. In 1995, he opened his own store at the Lan Xang Hotel, a traditional guest house in Vientiane, located at the banks of the serene landscape of the Mekong River. Bounkhong got inspired to design new patterns and started working with weavers from the outskirts of Vientiane. A few years later, he opened a second store at Samsenthai, one of the main streets of Vientiane. Tourists enjoyed watching the weavers at work on the two looms in the store's small workshop, because they could really see and appreciate the amount of effort and skill that went into each and every textile offered by the workshop. Also in the early 90s, he started to design fashion using vintage items and newly produced fabrics. The preferred material is silk, but he also works with cotton and hemp. Tailors in Vientiane and Bangkok helped to realize his ideas, and customers appreciated the results. To improve his own skills, he attended in the early 2000s a one-year study course in designing and sketching in Bangkok. He learned how to render his ideas on paper and to realize them with the assistance of experienced tailors. He recently has begun to design jewelry and works with skilled silver smiths in Laos to produce pieces.

Bounkhong receives inspiration from all his surroundings. Nature plays a significant role, be it a landscape or the bark of a tree, the fine linings of its leaves, or a dragon fly resting on a blossom. He is also inspired by his travels, which he began after interacting with customers from around the globe that visited his store in Vientiane. By now, Bounkhong has been to many countries in Asia, including Japan, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Indonesia (Bali), and Thailand. Bounkhong has visited Europe - a sister lives in France - but also the United Kingdom and Ireland, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, and, Turkey. One trip took him as far as South Africa, where he visited Pretoria, Johannesburg and Cape Town. He returned from each trip full of energy and inspiration to realize something different again, combining his new experiences with the traditional Lao handicraft.

After a trip to North America, Bounkhong decided to make New York his second home. He feels that New Yorkers are very open-minded and curious about South East Asian culture. Although few may know where Laos is located, they are ready to listen and appreciate the design and quality of Laotian textiles. He created an affiliate company in New York State, Lao Design, and began exhibiting at a store in Soho.

List of Past Exhibits and Awards:

The Art of Pacific Asia Show

Tribal Art, Folk and Textile Shows
New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Saint Etienne, France.

The Convergence Shows of the Handweavers' Guild of North America.
Vancouver, Grand Rapids, Michigan,Tampa, Florida.

The Sausalito Arts Festival
San Francisco Bay

Award 2014 & 2015 Amonk Art Show

Bellevue Arts Fair - Awarded 2011 the prestigious Carol Duke Artist Awards of Excellence


A master weaver at Lao Design.