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NOVICA Artisan Tapanee Tila

Tapanee Tila

I was born in 1981 in Phrae, one of Thailand's Northern provinces. In college, I majored in communication arts and, after graduating, I went to work in Bangkok where I continue to work as a publicist.

I often go back to my hometown to visit my mother. There, people wear the blue clothing dyed with hom, popularly considered a type of indigo plant. Almost everyone wears deep indigo blue cotton shirts that tie or button in the front with either long or short sleeves. Although the process of traditional dyeing is complicated and difficult, with knowledge transmitted from generation to generation, this traditional apparel is relatively inexpensive.

"We call this cloth mohom and it originated in Phrae. Mohom comes from a Northern Thai dialect. 'Moh' means 'dark indigo' and 'hom' means 'indigo blue.'

"Hom-dyed cloth from Phrae Province is pretty and undefeatable. This is the first thought that came to mind when I saw a brand name denim bag that sold at very high price. I immediately thought, 'why don't I add value to our local mohom cloth, which always been made in the same pattern?' I realized I could create fashionable designs with beautiful functions, suitable to use in the daily life of a new generation, and I could make it to be better than ever.

"At one time, I worked with a well-known clothing company in the marketing department, where I gained lots of experience in the fashion world. I knew immediately that our mohom had a potential to develop. I really wanted to work in this and help add value to my hometown fabric. Not only would I be able to do what I love and am good at, but I could also generate income for my people.

"The first thing I needed to know and understand was the production process, and then I had to learn the tie-dye technique. So I spent time at my local learning center to familiarize myself with it. Once I understood, I started to research and learn by myself.

"I experimented with different fabrics for dying in order to find the most suitable material for each of my designs. In 2015, I began making clutches and sold them on Instagram and Facebook. Today, this has become my second job.

"People ask why I design and craft apparel and accessories despite the fact that I have my regular job. 'Passion', is always my answer. I'm passionate about designing with our local fabrics.

"My inspiration usually comes from fashion trends, both in Thailand and around the world. I add with my personal style. I like to create designs that are simple, stylish and suitable for every occasion.

"I plan to create new collections continuously. At the same time, I want to help villagers in my community to develop their skill so that they can earn more. One of my dreams is to distribute my product to international market. Now, that dream is coming true."