Discovering Fashion Trends in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Having been heads down dealing with supply chain complexities brought on by Covid for the past 3 years, my boyfriend and I took a much needed break to the warm, beautiful country of Thailand this past February. We heard great things about the northern Thailand city of Chiang Mai and decided to spend a week exploring this historic yet bustling city. 

As I relaxed in cafes on the outskirts of Chiang Mai in the Mae Rim district, I took in the sights of the other tourists, many on vacation during Lunar New Year. I couldn’t help but notice a trend of breezy whites and light colored natural fabrics paired with both androgynous and romantic silhouettes. Despite temperatures in the high 80s, showing skin was out, and loose, billowy shapes were in. 

As a compliment to the lush foliage in Mae Rim, vibrant floral prints were also on trend to blend in to the natural scenery. What struck me was the absence of mainstream brands, as the majority of the outfits looked to be sourced from local artisan boutiques and markets, and tailored to the wearer’s personal style philosophy. 

In my outings to the heart of Chiang Mai’s inner city, a different vibe stood out – a mix of international visitors from Europe, Asia and the Americas all unified by a more urban, hipster style trend. Denims and vintage pieces were paired with unisex tops and bottoms. Recycled and vintage boutiques such as Love70s, Kaber Vintage Clothes Shop, and Clothes Dumpster were found throughout the city, offering selections of pieces that exuded American retro charm.

For the avid fashion shopper, Chiang Mai offers a wide variety of options, ranging from bustling street markets to upscale shopping centers. The renowned Night Bazaar and Anasorn Market continue to be popular places to find local craftsmanship, offering an array of budget-friendly, Thai inspired clothing. Meanwhile, Think Park is attracting a younger generation with its eclectic mix of artisanal shops like Sala Design, showcasing sleek silhouettes with a minimalist twist.

For those seeking a taste of international luxury, the upscale shopping havens of Maya Lifestyle Shopping Center, Central Festival, and One Nimman still offer brand name shopping with names like Lacoste, Adidas, H&M, and Topshop which add a touch of cosmopolitan flair to the Chiang Mai fashion scene. Each shopping center still offered local wares in the center of the complex that could be perfectly paired with name brand pieces. 

Although we went to Chiang Mai to take in the beautiful natural & urban landscape of the city, we were treated to some amazing and unique fashion from both travelers & citizens. In every alleyway and marketplace, Chiang Mai flourishes with creativity and diversity, offering a tapestry of local Thai silhouettes paired with international trends and a touch of individual flair. 

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