Fashion designers falling in love with Thai silk

Famed designer Jimmy Choo was one of several global fashion figures who praised the beauty and versatility of Thai silk at the Thai Silk Fashion Week in Bangkok last week, urging young designers to create with the fabric if they want to make a mark worldwide.

“This event has gathered many world-renowned designers and will be a great source of power to extend the fame of Thai silk across the globe,” Choo told reporters.

Silk growing and weaving have been part of Thai culture since ancient times.

Through Her Majesty Queen Sirikit The Queen Mother’s vision, the Foundation of the Promotion of Supplementary Occupations and Related Techniques or SUPPORT Foundation was created in 1976 in Thailand to restore and promote the Thai silk industry. It has provided employment, along with better living standards, to countless rural women and families.

Later in the 20th century, an American named Jim Thompson became enamored with the unique feel and quality of Thai silk and devoted himself to reviving the craft and industry. Today, the Jim Thompson brand and many Thai silk brands have won acclaim for their distinctive and elegant creations.

However, not many newer generations of Thai designers have used Thai silk in comparison with more modern fabrics.

“It is the role of us, fashion designers, to help create new styles, tell the story and significance of such wisdom through our work,” Choo said. “I hope, one day, to come back to Thailand and talk with young Thai designers and inspire them to understand the origins of Thai silk and for them to tap into their local wisdom.”

Chiming in with Choo was Italian designer Rocco Barocco, owner of the “roccobarocco” brand. “I see great potential for Thai silk to enter the global arena. I think, to make them interested in Thai silk, it is necessary for these young designers to design the products for their own generation,” he said.

Barocco also suggested that the Thai silk industry adopt modern technologies for weaving aside from the traditional handmade methods of producing the fabric. “If technology can make the best-quality cloth, why not use it? It not only helps ensure the quality of productions but also, as many traditional weavers pass away, but it also continues their legacy and wisdom.”

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