As a freelancer in the sixth-largest textile exporting country in the world, writing about the industry was an easy fit. I got to know NGOs facilitating fairer trade and photographers focused on ethnic minority wear. I got up close and personal with some of the most unique shoes in the world — their heels made by a carver of pagoda pillars.
But it wasn’t until I started writing for the World Textile Information Network that I grasped the industry’s extent. My first factory visit was to the largest garment maker in the country, Nha Be, which produces 5 million units per month for brands such as Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, and Marks & Spencer.
I would also go to international textile fairs for WTiN, where I got a sense of the international world of textiles.
Later, I worked for Vietnam Investment Review, where we tracked the treaties that make this kind of international trade possible.