Took a taxi into Bangkok’s textiles district on the edge (well kinda in the middle too) of Chinatown. It’s called Sampeng and it’s a lane that runs for about a kilometre with stalls and shops on either side selling anything and everything related to materials and textiles equipment. It’s covered with tarps and canvas and the shops have air-con blasting into the laneway, so it was pretty nice to wander through. Sampeng merges straight into Pahurat, known as Little India, with loads of beaded and lace materials on offer.
I learnt today that Thai import regulations make it difficult to bring in foreign-made silks – an effective way of promoting local product. While I admire the durability and technique of Thai silk, I’m not a huge fan. Overall, I find it too stiff, too serious. To me it’s dated in that it doesn’t translate well to contemporary, relaxed or fluid design. I learnt a lot today, mostly about weaving and dying and the strength of the local silk market. I stumbled for hours happily distracted by ribbons and traffic and colour in those manic laneways.