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Chiang Mai, the City of Fashion

TO DEVELOP YOUTH IN THE FIELD of fashion emphasizing the aspects of design, production and marketing, the Department of Industrial Promotion, International Communications Center of Chiang Mai University, and the Chiangmai Provincial Commerce Department are working together under a directive of the Prime Minister's Office. For over two years, Dr. Busabong Jamroendarasame, Director of the IC Center, has been working on various projects for the Prime Minister's Office. Prof Tongchai Chiangsorn is the project operations director of this Redeveloping project.

Three hundred university students coming from Chiang Mai University, Payap University and Rajamongkol University met in the ballroom of the Chiangmai Hills Hotel on July 9 and 10 . In the opening address given by the newly appointed Director of Department of Industrial Promotion, Mr. Veeranant Niladawong, he urged the students to implement their knowledge of marketing, design and production to produce the required three fashion categories: casual wear, work attire, evening wear plus women's handbags.

After the morning lecture on marketing particular to the fashion industry, the afternoon lectures informed how to predict fashion trends and general design techniques. Later, the students formed corroborative teams. At the end of the first week, each team should present a written business plan identifying the source of materials along with finished design sketches and marketing campaigns for promoting to their targeted markets. At least 80% of the fabrics used must be gotten from pre-selected OTOP award winning producers. As for accent items such as lace, buttons, or semi precious stones, the source should be from the local market such as the Vorarote Market. The top three teams will be awarded cash prices of Baht 30,000, Bt 20,000, and Bt 10,000.

A concurrent project, "Chiang Mai, a Fashion Hub", was initiated a few months ago with Deputy Governor Parinya Pantong taking a great interest in its development. During the week of August 11-14, the public is invited to see the results at the festive exhibition in Chiang Mai at Central Airport Plaza.

Successful Continuing Education Projects of IC Center

Throughout the year of 2004, Dr. Busabong was working very closely with the Prime Minister's Office developing spa training projects in Phuket. These training programs for therapists were found to be successful and opened up all types of spin off education opportunities. Of particular interest was the operation of the Royal Spa the largest spa in Thailand having an average of 300 to 800 guests receiving spa treatments daily. More than 100 therapists worked in the Royal Spa. In August 2004, forty therapists studied the intense training program designed by Dr. Busabong. The remaining sixty therapists were to receive the intense training later in 2004. This was the status up until the December 26th Boxing Day Tsunami disaster slowed down tourism in Phuket.

That great natural disaster has not diminished the confident reputation of talented Thai therapists worldwide. At the moment plans have been set in November 2005 when the IC Center will receive a group of 50 Japanese students coming to familiarize themselves about the culture of Chiangmai. After the two week culture course, the group returns to Japan. Many of those students will opt to return to study the 360-hour therapy training course at the IC Center.

From Europe, Spa business owners in Greece have requested therapists from Thailand to work in Greece. For this request a team sizes of one man and three women or a team of two men and four women are appropriate. The therapists will undertake a three year contract of six months duration in Greece returning to Thailand during their low season. Another country, closer to Thailand, Korea, has also asked for certified therapists to work in Korea.

In the beginning of the massage training courses, the IC Center trainers were very pleased to accept Chiang Mai women who expressed a desire to study without any advance requirement qualification. After surveying the graduates who completed the initial course, the findings indicated that a large number of the graduates remained at home and did not seek work in the health care field. Thereafter, each applicant was requested to provide a letter from a sponsor or a potential employer before being accepted for training. The students were additionally motivated to make use of the training.

Though the primary objective was to educate Chiang Mai women in massage skills, the physical energy required is exhausting and this vocation is found to be more suited for Thais from the northeast region and the south region. The IC Center in Chiang Mai University is taking the lead to create more opportunities for Thais in practical types of levels of education.

A reminder to mark your calendar to attend the Modern Generation Gala Fashion Dinner Show to view the imaginative fashions presented at the Imperial Mae Ping Hotel on August 19, 2005. From your seat will you be able to predict Chiang Mai's future designers? The public is urged to buy tickets early.

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