We met Lukkaew, founder of the brand Folk Charm, on January, 18th in her Bangkok creation studio.
Could you describe your background ?
I was born in Bangkok but I grew up in Japan, I went to highschool and university there. During my master, I studied art, rural development and I was highly interested by women who work from their home. Then, I realized that Thai people were losing interest in crafts and that there was no more transmission of these precious know-hows. My passion for these subjects pushed me, in 2014, to participate to an incubator program and I presented the project Folk Charm. In 2016, I registered Folk Charm as a company.
Tell us more about Folk Charm:
Folk Charm is a brand which aims to promote Thai crafts. We deliver cloth collection for men and women made with cotton cultivated without pesticide and we use only natural dyes. We work with farmers in order to grow the cotton naturally and respect the cotton flowers’ cycle. Then, the spinners create a yarn that will be turned into a hand-made, natural fabric by the weavers. We then send the fabric to the sewers and tailors, here in Bangkok, who make the clothes. Everything is handmade, that’s why we deliver high quality pieces. Morevore there is no waste because with the leftover fabrics, we design small accessories like hair bands, wallets and key chains. We also have the advantage to monitor the entire process so there is 100% transparency.
What makes Folk Charm an ethical, sustainable brand?
First of all, concerning the social aspect, we help communities by providing them a decent job with a higher salary than average. They have flexible hours, they work 3 to 4 hours a day at home so they can raise children. We encourage the transmission of a know-how and we promote Thai craft: now, some children learn from their grandmother the art of weaving or spinning. There is also a real transparency and traceability in our company. Each yarn arrives in Bangkok with a tag on which there is the name of the person who made it. Our philosophy lies on three grounds: a fair price which means a stable salary for the workers so their can do other things and not be indebted, good conditions of work that ensure proper healthcare for farmers spinners and weavers; opportunities for them to build strong and new skills, learn to improve the designs and access market.
On an environmental point of view, our farmers grow natural, chemical-free cotton: this means that they respect the cycle of the plants. The cotton fields are watered naturally during the rainy season and the cotton flowers are hand-plucked by the farmers. Then, the yarn is dyed naturally with plants or keep their original color of the cotton flowers: this is why our collections have mainly white and beige shades. Furthermore, we use recycled paper as packaging to avoid plastic.
Our studio here in Bangkok is eco-designed, entirely made of recovered wood from old houses to be destroyed and all the furniture is second-hand.