Traders of Thai traditional costumes are all smiles these days, boasting of unprecedented brisk business, thanks to public’s addiction to the mega-hit TV drama series, Bupphasannivas (Love Destiny).
“Do you have Mae Karaked (lead female character) costumes?” is the most popular question asked by female shoppers, according to traders at Bobae market, one of the biggest ready-made garment wholesale and retail outlets in Bangkok.
Ms Pat Pothiya, a trader at Bobae Tower in Bobaemarket, said that many retailers came to the market to buy the traditional costumes at wholesale prices for sale ahead of the Songkran festival.
She said that the orders for jong kraben pants of the styles during the reigns of King Rama 5 and King Rama 7 were so overwhelming that manufacturers were unable to produce fast enough to meet the high demand.
Similar opinion was shared by Mrs Chularat Meepruek, another trader, who said that her limited stocks were not enough to meet the demand of all the buyers and she had to set a limit on the number of the costumes, especially the jong krabane pants, to be sold to each buyer.
For the last ten years since she started selling Thai traditional costumes, Mrs Chularat admitted that this was the best year ever with her stocks having run out.
She said that, some days, she made up to 300,000 baht in sale on a single day and she hoped that the craze for traditional costumes would sustain for a longer period of time with the government occasionally campaigning to urge Thai people to preserve their traditional culture.
Most traders said that, despite the sharp demand for the traditional clothing, they did not jack up the prices to take advantage to their customers. The wholesale prices for a pair of jong kraben pants range from 110-180 baht while retail prices range from 150-250 baht each. A sabai (shawl-like garment) costs 80 baht apiece wholesale and 150 baht apiece retail.