The Siamese Fashionista
I’ve read in the Insider’s Guide to Bangkok that wearing traditional Thai dresses is on the rise again. They also mention the Siamese Fashionista group that wants to inspire Thai people to wear traditional dresses in everyday life. Hence, it may be regarded as an attempt to go back to the roots as far as clothing is concerned. In Thai, this group is called ‘Taeng Thai Sabai Ngam Siam Phusa Niyom’ and its members set examples of dressing in a traditional style.
The Siamese Fashionista
Personally I am very much interested in the amazingly beautiful Thai dresses and of course, I love them. If you are a devoted reader of my blog, you will probably know my articles about ‘Traditional Thai dresses’ part I and part II. If you have missed this, maybe you would like to check this out since it provides info about the different kinds of national Thai dresses today. Additionally, this kind of clothing may be regarded as an expression of the Thai concept of ‘siwalai‘ (i.e. civilized standards) 🙂
However, over the centuries there were different kinds of traditional Thai dresses. Hence, there was also the ‘fashion’ to go bare-chested. This was usual for men but for housewives as well. Nonetheless, today we can distinguish between eight different styles of Thai national dresses for women and there are also respective dresses for men. They are said to have originated in the mid 20th century and were developed by H.M. Queen Sirikit.
Today, there is a campaign by the Ministry of Culture which tries to encourage young Thais to dress traditionally. Some malls and stores also support this ‘trend’ by offering discounts, coupons and even free stuff to people wearing traditional Thai clothing. However, the Siamese Fashionista does not want this to be merely a fleeting trend but rather promote that Thai clothing should become a common part of everyday wear.
Two members of the Siamese Fashionista group are Cheewachon “Naam” Piyason and Chada “Chancha” Wannapong. They formed this group because they felt that there is a discrepancy between Thai people’s general patriotism and the fact that they seldom wear traditional clothing.
They also started this group to invite people to wear these kind of national dresses in public and not be afraid of it. Nowadays it seems that traditional clothing is only reserved for special occasions. Thus, Thai people are not used to wearing these kind of dresses anymore. The group also wants to show young Thais that traditional dresses are not particularly expensive or hard to find. Hence, Chancha said that she bought the fabrics for a low price and made the dresses herself. She also finds that accessories like jewellery are not necessary.
The group’s aim is to preserve and maintain the way Siamese people dressed in prior centuries. As I understand it, the Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles offers activities promoting Thai traditional clothing for adults and for children. In addition, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (Amazing Thailand) also encourages people to wear these kind of dresses and the N’Sukjai doll is the inspiration.
Traditional Thai dresses seem to come into vogue. Thus, for instance, celebrities like Pattriya Na Nakorn and actress Davika Hoorne present these dresses in glossy magazines.
Summing up, I think Siamese Fashionista a very useful group since their aim is to give young Thais an understanding of their ancestry and the way they dressed. Thus, it remains to be seem if this is only a trend or if traditional Thai clothing will actually become a dress that anyone can wear on any occasion 🙂
*photo credit: SiameseFashionista, FB page