A campaign has been launched for the use of Thai fabric and silk in order to preserve Thailand’s cultural heritage and promote Thai wisdom, creativity, and craftsmanship.
The campaign carried out jointly by the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives came after the Cabinet in June this year approved a proposal by the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives to urge government officials and state enterprise employees to put on outfits made of Thai fabric or silk.
The proposal was also meant to promote the daily use of Thai fabric and silk on various occasions. It will also promote the creative economy, thus enabling producers of Thai fabric and silk to earn a higher income. Designs have been proposed for men’s and women’s wear, including the “five-button suit.”
In an effort to heighten the campaign, the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives on July 11 signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with MCOT Public Company. The MOU is expected to help boost Thai fabric research and development and broaden knowledge about Thai culture and wisdom. The Ministry of Culture is updating information about Thai fabric in 77 provinces, and the information will be compiled into a directory, in Thai and English, to be distributed to both Thais and foreigners.
The various regions of the country have their distinctive fabric woven from cotton or silk in unique patterns. While traditionally pieces of cloth were worn tied around the waist and draped across the shoulders, or arranged to create fabulous costumes, nowadays such material is increasingly used for dress-making, individually or by the garment industry. This type of attire is designed with three concepts in mind: beauty, comfort, and function.
An admirer of Thai fabric, Her Majesty Queen Sirikit has dressed in Thai fabric since she was still Mom Rajawongse Sirikit Kitiyakara. In 1960, ten years after the royal wedding, Her Majesty decided that it was time to create a traditional Thai dress for women that would be instantly recognizable the world over. Research on the attire that Thai women had worn throughout various historical periods was undertaken to come up with national costume designs.
Her Majesty had the dresses adapted to suit present-day use, and she has worn them during her visits to foreign countries. She also commissioned designs of national costumes for ladies and gentlemen, with emphasis on the use of locally made fabric featuring traditional patterns.
Thanks to Her Majesty, the Thai national dress is now recognized internationally. In fact, the national costumes are particularly suited to hand-woven silk, as well as plain, brocade or patterned, and tie-dyed silk. Her Majesty also plays a vital role in promoting Thai fabric and silk and making it better known in the world at large.