The hand-woven treasure of natural fiber from Thai silkworm cocoons fed on a diet of mulberry leaves could have been left celebrated only amongst the local textile fans. But thanks to Jim Thompson, the unique luster and gleam of Thai silk has gone beyond its place of origin.
Named after its founder who discovered the splendor of the Thai handcraft when he was on duty in South-east Asia during the World War II, one of the best-known Thai silk companies, Jim Thompson, has been a longstanding figure in Thai textile industry and the world’s window to Thai textile history and culture understanding for over 40 years.
Though on Easter Day in 1967 the ex-American soldier left his residence and has never been found again, his visionary legacy of Thai fabrics has firmly remained in the company that always looks for ways to weave Thailand’s textile prides to world recognition, setting example of a success in finding the right balance between maintaining the inherited integrity and progressing along the evolving contemporary context.
It might be true twenty years ago that Thai yarn could only invoke somewhat ancestral sense and feel, but beware of that misperception when it comes to the latest conception of pioneer Jim Thompson.
The originality of Thai textile now is enriched by modern touches from collaboration with renowned designers including David Rockwell, the designer and founder of award-winning Rockwell Group from New York City.
The cross culture creation has seen UK-based home and interiors trend agency Trend Bible select two of Jim Thompson’s fabric designs, Shimmery Light from David Rockwell’s Spotlight Collection and Damascus from Destinations Collection by the in-house designers, from the January 2012 into its Spring Summer 2014 Trend Book.
Keep track of the world’s fabric scene for it will be interesting when Thai textile hits its next chapters.
By Thitipol Panyalimpanun