Textiles are an important part of Thai culture and heritage. In the past, tribes from Northern Thailand, Northern Burma, Laos and Southwestern China wore clothing as a representation of their society, instead of simply for protection. The colours, weave and patterns represented tribes, villages and even individuals themselves. As Thais moved further south, they carried their textile culture and clothing with them.
These traditions are still around today in Northern Thailand, especially in the region of Chiang Mai. All one has to do to appreciate the tradition is keep an eye out for the hill tribes in and around Chiang Mai.
The significance of textiles in Thai culture is also reflected by its importance to the country’s economy. After all, an average of 50% of all handicrafts from Thailand involve textiles. The centre of Thailand’s textile industry is easily the northern region, where cotton is grown, silk is produced, and other textile processes, such as supplying and trading, take place.