Chinadaily / People dressed in traditional costumes pose for a picture, as interest for historical clothing rises within the country, in Ayutthaya, Thailand, on Friday. [Photo/Agencies] BANGKOK – Business is booming for Siri Seatea’s traditional dress shop in Bangkok.
“Out of the 30 years I’ve been running this shop, this is the peak for us,” 53-year-old Siri said as she stitched a Thai sarong for a client.
History fever is gripping Thailand and a growing number of Thais are wearing traditional dress, a phenomenon encouraged by the government and the palace, and fueled by a popular television soap opera.
The trend began with a ‘winter fair’ initiated by King Maha Vajiralongkorn in February.
Among the popular costumes are those worn during the reign of former King Chulalongkorn, known as Rama V, who ruled from 1868 to 1910 and is credited with saving Thailand from Western colonialism.
Television has also played a part.
Love Destiny, a soap opera set during the 1656 to 1688 reign of King Narai the Great, has taken Thailand by storm.
Many Thais are visiting the ancient capital of Ayutthaya, north of Bangkok, where scenes from Love Destiny take place. They pose for “selfies” dressed in traditional garb against the backdrop of the ruins.
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha met with cast members this week at Government House and hailed the series as an example of the government’s long-standing policy of promoting ‘Thainess’.
Prayuth’s government has held some recent meetings in the traditional dress of a 19th century elite. He dressed in a buttoned up silk jacket, breeches and a wide sash.
In Ayutthaya, 80 kilometers north of Bangkok, visitor numbers have nearly tripled since Love Destiny began, according to officials quoted by local media.
“It was booming since the winter fair held by our king and then this soap opera fueled the Thai costume fever,” said Chutima Wongchiangkwang, 55, a costume vendor.
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