Yayee Phuket, a local clothing brand founded by the late Wasita Noipradit and her son Phongpiwich Thuatraipop, has successfully expanded its business of souvenir products and bespoke Batik garments. In response to the post-COVID-19 Thai tourism recovery, Phongpiwich, has adapted to the changing times. The brand has captured the hearts of Russian and Chinese tourists, propelling them to impressive heights. The brand’s exceptional creations have graced renowned fashion shows around the world, including a recent prestigious event held in Russia.
“Yayee encapsulates the essence of Phuket, reflecting its distinctive cultural elements such as local cuisine, colonial architecture, and the art of Batik clothing. By proudly using the ‘Made in Phuket’ label, we aim to showcase Phuket’s unique identity to the world.”
Batik, an indigenous art form native to Phuket, showcases intricate dye-resistant wax techniques on fabric. This traditional craft has transcended its roots and spread to various provinces in Southern Thailand, each contributing their own distinctive flair. In Phuket, Batik fabric is primarily used to create Kebaya outfits for special occasions, such as weddings and ordination ceremonies, often incorporating auspicious colours. Nowadays, the market is flooded with printed fabrics bearing traditional Batik patterns, which may lack the authenticity of genuine Batik.
Previously, Yayee focused on adapting printed Batik fabrics into formalwear attire. However, to expand their customer base internationally, they embarked on redesigning their collections to cater to a more global audience. Yayee combines traditional fabric patterns with contemporary designs, meticulously reimagining them by hand and digitally scanning them to create distinctive prints that stand apart from the rest. This innovative process blends traditional craftsmanship with modern industrial techniques while preserving the cultural heritage.
In addition to the Classic collection, Yayee has introduced its Yayee Lagoon collection, featuring captivating prints on Rayon fabric in a beachwear style. This collection has gained popularity among Russian and Chinese tourists due to its effortless wearability and suitability for island getaways. Consequently, Phuket’s Batik fabric has been woven back into the fabric of daily life, both formally and casually.
Furthermore, Yayee has partnered with the Department of Corrections, Ministry of Justice, Thailand, to provide training for female inmates in Phuket, empowering them to create unique souvenirs such as notebooks, bags and pouches using leftover fabrics. These eco-friendly products are sold at airports and various hotels, minimising waste in the production process.
“We are delighted to witness the increasing interest in establishing Batik brands across various provinces,” Phongpiwich says. “The growing market enthusiasm for contemporary traditional clothing fills us with joy. As always, Yayee remains committed to showcasing the modern Phuket lifestyle to the world.”
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Words by: Pattareeya Puapongsakorn
Photo courtesy of Yayee Phuket