The Tai Lue Project (exhibition)


International Fashion Colloquium: Searching for the New Luxury

ArtEZ University, Arnhem. May 31 – June 1, 2018

A British Council, Crafting Futures Project

The project was initiated to empower women in the craft sector. Operating within the British Council’s Crafting Futures programme, it aimed to re-vitalise traditional hand-woven Thai textiles through the innovative making of new garments. The project has equipped local artisans with knowledge in design thinking and the ability to integrate their cultural identity into their cloth.


New garments were constructed in Thailand and England with the aim of exploring materials and techniques which support sustainable and eco-friendly textiles. The Tai Lue project was a partnership between British Council Thailand, Fai Gaem Mai at Chiang Mai University, and Manchester Metropolitan University. Central to the project were the collaborations with Tai Lue weavers from the villages of Ban Donchai, Ban Hea, and Ban Sala from Nan province in northern Thailand.

The Tai Lue weaver’s fabrics possess unique emotional qualities, woven slowly over days or weeks, gradually revealing highly accomplished and complex traditional patterns. The fabrics contain traces of the individual weaver, moments of their time are embedded into the fabric. The selvedge is an indicator of their temperament and their skill, an uneven edge reveals the handmade quality of the cloth. Each length of fabric is unique to the individual who made it.


Images by Karn Supraphakorn: art director, stylist and photographer Ratchata Jitpakdee.

A film by Daniel Morrell, Crafting Futures: The Tai Lue Project focussed on the impact of the project.

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