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Thailand’s University Students Don Local Fabric to Boost Villagers Incomes

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Thailand, University, Students, Uniforms, Thai Fabric

From student uniforms to graduation gowns, Thailand is encouraging University students to use local fabric to make clothing and boost incomes in villages hit hard by the coronavirus.

The nationwide move follows the success of Nakhon Si Thammarat Rajabhat University (NSTRU). A public university in southern Thailand that this year began using locally-made quilting fabric for a range of clothing under a government-backed scheme.

“During Covid-19, there has been no tourists, so we need to help communities to stimulate the domestic economy,” said Dr Kitipong Promwong, president of the government’s Office of National Higher Education Science Research and Innovation Policy Council (NXPO).

“Many universities are keen to participate, as some of them have already started (using local fabric),” said Dr Kitipong. Whose organization is run by the higher education, science, research and innovation ministry.

Thailand’s central bank expects a record contraction in economic activity this year. With the economy taking at least two years to return to pre-pandemic levels as the key tourism industry reels from a ban on foreign visitors.

fabric uniforms thailand

Fabric Scheme generates income for villagers

The NXPO said the South-east Asian nation’s 180 universities can be a large growth engine for local economies. It has estimated that the nationwide fabric scheme could generate about 1.8 billion baht in income for communities.

In June, the Prime Minister encouraged people to wear clothes made from traditional Thai fabric at least two days a week to help communities.

At present, six communities in Nakhon Si Thammarat are involved in producing fabric for student uniforms and accessories for students and faculty members.

NSTRU director Surasak Kaewon said the project will generate 10 million baht for local communities each year, largely from graduation gowns for about 3,000 students.

The new gowns, which use rare cloth woven only in Nakhon Si Thammarat to replace velvet produced by factories, are expected to be used in next year’s graduation ceremony following approval from the Cabinet.

fabric thailand

NSTRU is among seven universities that have each received a 1.5 million baht grant from the government to come up with pilot projects to help villages generate income.

In Nakhon Si Thammarat’s Phipun district, 52-year-old Kamonwat Danghangsince lost all her income from selling items made from tie-dye fabrics during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Ms Kamonwat is still struggling to make money due to the lack of tourists, but she hopes NSTRU’s orders to produce student uniforms will help boost income for her cooperative.

“When Covid-19 came, it’s like everything stopped,” Ms Kamonwat told Reuters.

“But now it’s a good opportunity for us to sell to the university, especially since they don’t bargain.”

fabric thailand

Fabric making in northern Thailand

Thailand has a rich tradition of fabric making and is known for its beautiful textiles. The country has a long history of producing various types of fabrics using traditional techniques. Here are some key aspects of fabric making in Thailand:

1. Thai Silk: One of the most famous types of fabric in Thailand is Thai silk. Thai silk is renowned for its lustrous texture and vibrant colors. It is traditionally handwoven from the cocoon of the silkworm, and the process involves various steps, including rearing silkworms, spinning silk threads, dyeing the threads, and weaving them into fabric. The northeastern region of Thailand, particularly the province of Surin, is well-known for its silk production.

2. Traditional Weaving: Thailand has a rich heritage of traditional weaving techniques that have been passed down through generations. Various regions in Thailand have their own distinct weaving styles and patterns. For example, the hill tribes in northern Thailand, such as the Karen and Hmong, are known for their intricate woven textiles. The weaving process involves using a loom and hand-operated techniques to create intricate patterns and designs.

3. Cotton Fabrics: Besides silk, cotton is another commonly used fabric in Thailand. Cotton fabrics are often handwoven using traditional techniques. The patterns and designs on cotton fabrics can vary based on the region and the specific weaving methods employed.

4. Batik: Batik is a fabric dyeing technique that involves creating intricate patterns using wax-resistant dyeing. Although batik is not originally from Thailand, it has been incorporated into Thai fabric making. Thai artisans create beautiful batik fabrics by applying wax to specific areas of the fabric and then dyeing it. The waxed areas resist the dye, resulting in unique and visually appealing patterns.

5. Natural Dyes: Traditional fabric making in Thailand often involves the use of natural dyes derived from plants, roots, and other natural sources. Artisans extract colors from plants and use them to dye fabrics, creating a wide range of hues and shades. Natural dyeing techniques are valued for their eco-friendliness and the unique color variations they produce.

6. Contemporary Fabrics: In addition to traditional fabric making, Thailand has a thriving contemporary textile industry. Modern textile factories produce a wide range of fabrics using advanced machinery and techniques. These fabrics cater to both domestic and international markets, and they can be found in various industries, including fashion, upholstery, and home decor.

Thailand’s fabric making industry is not only a source of beautiful textiles but also an important cultural heritage. Visitors to Thailand can explore local markets, textile villages, and artisan workshops to learn more about the intricate process of fabric making and to purchase unique and handcrafted textiles.

The CTNNews editorial team comprises seasoned journalists and writers dedicated to delivering accurate, timely news coverage. They possess a deep understanding of current events, ensuring insightful analysis. With their expertise, the team crafts compelling stories that resonate with readers, keeping them informed on global happenings.

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