“Tribal Accessories Development Project: Reflecting Cultural Identities of Five Southern Esan Provinces”, in 2020, The Gem and Jewelry Institute of Thailand (Public Organization) launched a project to develop tribal accessories from Southern Esan region. Also known as ‘The Glory of Southern Esan”, the project focused on showcasing the identities of five Southern Esan provinces; Nakhon Ratchasima, Buriram, Surin, Si Saket and UbonRatchathani.
Southern Esan is selected as the project focus due to the cultural richness in the area. It boasts diversity in ethnics, dialects, lifestyles, traditions and beliefs in each particular province. Accessories are used by individuals not only for aesthetic reasons but also to reflect the person’s social status. Unfortunately, such unique representations of tribal accessories are becoming rare. This project provides the opportunity to preserve and develop these regional identities into the modern day.
GIT acknowledges the fact that most skilled workers in gem and jewelry industry are originally from Esan region. With such advantage of having the skills in place, additional support in other aspects can go a long way to add value to these unique tribal accessories products. Communities could greatly benefit from assistance in product designs, production techniques and international marketing effort. The villagers could earn more sustainable income from the business itself, and in effect, local tourism could be boosted too.
The research team from GIT started off the project by doing historical research in order to choose the identity of each province together with local authorities. Then, training sessions were organized for interested local businesses and four entrepreneurs from each province were selected. Experts provide brainstorming sessions, workshops, ongoing consultation and assignment to all 20 selected entrepreneurs. Five experts working with local entrepreneurs in this project are designers with national and international accolades. All of these highly-acclaimed designers have at least five years of ongoing design recognitions; Peerada Seniwong Na Ayudhya (Brand Owner, Trimode Accessories), Rush Pleansuk (Owner of design studio, Sumphat Craft), Sirakarn Jiratpassakorn, Saprang Craft Jewelry),
Patipat Chaiwitesh (Designer of the year 2019 in Textile and Fabric Design) and Worrachai Siriwiphanan (Brand Founder, Basic Teeory Jewelry).
The final designs reflecting local cultural identities from the Glory of Southern Esan Project will be produced for sale online to cater for the trend today as well as offline at TEMP Pop-Up Store by GIT. They will also be showcased in trade fairs such as Bangkok Germs and Jewelry Fair to provide the products with international exposure.
The key to ‘Tribal Accessories Development Project: Cultural Identities of Southern Esan Provinces’ or ‘Esan dern’ is to encourage local entrepreneurs to combine local expertise with stories from the past and present of each province. Under a close supervision by nationally acclaimed designers and GIT consultants, the narratives of resemblance and difference are reflected through the new creative pieces.
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