A Hmong woman pauses briefly to view the vast valley below in Sa Pa, Viet Nam, as she walks from the town center back to her village.
A young Hmong guide stops to smile for a photograph outside of Sa Pa, in northern Viet Nam. Like many Hmong women of her generation, she has chosen to forgo a life of toiling in the fields, opting instead to cast her lot with the country's growing tourism industry.
A young Flower Hmong woman smiles for a photograph in Bac Ha, Viet Nam. It's often difficult to discern whether you should blame a young Flower Hmong woman's beautiful dress or facial features as the reason you can't stop looking at her.
Locals crowd around to watch a horse race in Bac Ha, northern Viet Nam.
A Hmong woman in Sapa, Vietnam. The Hmong are one of Vietnam's 54 ethnic minority groups.
Hoang A Tuong Palace located in the center of Bac Ha district, Lao Cai province. Dinh Hoang A Tuong architectural style Asia - Europe combined, create harmony, texture rectangle continuous closed.
A Black Hmong, one of the native tribes in Sapa, Vietnam sells here colorful textiles adorned with intricate patterns.
Coming from countries where two women would usually be horrified to show up at the same party wearing the same dress, it's hard to imagine a society where every woman has agreed to dress almost exactly alike from as far back as anyone can remember.
This being the case, there's no disputing that the Flower H'mong themselves constitute the main attraction in a visit to the region. Each girl makes her own outfit herself, and it takes about two weeks to make every 20cm of brocade — it's a display of patience designed to prepare them for marriage to Flower H'mong men, just in case they wind up being one of those guys we saw stumbling around, blind drunk on corn whiskey, at noon.
The dynamics of 'in-group identity' aside, the Flower H'mong garb has a practical purpose, at least nowadays.