Advocacy

Smooth as a Silk Swoosh


Pearypie infuses ethnic textiles into her Nike Air Force 1 collection

Amata Chittasenee aka Pearypie is a self-confessed “Student of Earth, flower girl, colour hunter, urban farmer, community networking agent, Thai textile and culture activist and voice for the natural environment”.

Most recently her work with Thai weavers was highlighted in a collaboration with Nike to mark the 40th anniversary of Nike’s Air Force 1, the iconic street legend sneakers. This is her second collaboration with Atmos Bangkok after her first in 2017 for which she used her makeup artistry. 

Pearypie custom-designed six pairs of Air Force 1 sneakers using Thai textiles techniques from all around the country, working with local experts in each field of textile. Titled “Back to the Hood, Back to the Root”, the project aims to celebrate the diversity of different cultures in Thailand from North to South through Thai textiles and is a testament to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

This pair uses the stunning and complicated weave known as “Praewa'' from Kalasin. Known as the “Queen of Silk'', it originates from the Phutai tribe, and is so complex that only half a centimetre can be woven each day. The Praewa silk used was woven by master weaver Kumsorn Srathong, a National Artist in the field of Visual Arts. An outstanding feature of this pair is the addition of Praewa tassels at the back.

This pair is a patchwork of different local fabrics, from kratui cotton which has a naturally light brown colour, hand-spun and indigo dyed cotton from Baan Oon Dong - Nong Chai Wan Weaving Group, and Dao Krachai fabric from Prach Niyomkar, founder of Mann Craft, which uses eco-print technique. Swooshes are made of indigo cotton.

This is a collaboration between Surachot Tamcharoen of Surin and Piya Suwannapruek of Yala. Surachot created the toe and swoosh from unique “hole” mudmee fabric, then the sneakers were sent down south where Piya applied hand-drawn motifs inspired by Chinese porcelain, creating a perfect blend of cultures.

Representing the glory of the old capital of Ayutthaya and the golden temples of Bangkok, this pair of sneakers was created using an exclusive gold pattern silk by “Phusa Pha Lai Yang”. The silk is first processed to be firm, then patterns are hand-drawn using a special tree gum. Gold leaf is then applied to created real gold patterns on silk for a rich and exclusive look.

From the north of Thailand comes the special fabric from the Lahu Daeng hill tribe minorities of Ban Huai Pa Kham Village in Chiang-Mai. This fabric has a special weaving method, outstanding in the bright colours and the triangle patterns that represent the mountains, while the gourd motif represents abundance. The colourful fabric contrasts with the black colour of the sneakers to highlight the uniqueness of the patterns.

The pattern of the sneakers is influenced by the “kluay hin” saba banana plant which is indigenous to the south of Thailand. The banana peel is used as a natural dye. This pair of sneakers was made from saba banana dyed fabric, printed with a kluay hin banana pattern using the wood block batik technique, resulting in a camouflage look that goes perfectly with the black sole.

 

The sneakers were auctioned via Atmos Bangkok’s Facebook page from 12-20 August, and a total of 140,100 baht was raised, with the top bid coming it at 33,100 baht for the Praewa pair. Proceeds from the auction will be donated to various social causes such as the Palanging SriYala Batik Knowledge Centre, Yala Province; the Lahu Daeng Ethnic Group, Ban Huay Pa Khaem Village, Chiang Mai Province;  the Phusa Phalaiyang knowledge centre for the preservation and creation of traditional motifs in Thai art, Ban Rai Matum, Tha Chang Sub-district, Ban Lad District, Petchaburi Province; and Tinniyom Chiang Dao group, to support the learning centre for children in protecting their watershed forests.


CREDITS
  • Pictures courtesy of Facebook/atmos.bangkok