Chirada Loetparisanyu makes handbags using traditional Thai textiles at her parents’ workshop in Chiang Mai.
Chirada was born in Chonburi province, to farmers–turned–artisans, who left the fields to begin making handicrafts at a workshop they opened in Chiang Mai.
Initially following in her parents’ footsteps, Chirada earned her degree in agriculture at Kasetsarst University in 1996. But just as they did, she couldn’t ignore the siren call of artisanal crafts and, in 2000, began working with her hands in a different way.
“I was always interested in handicrafts made from natural materials, so I observed and learned from magazines, books, television programs and everything around me.”
She started out making dresses from traditional Thai textiles. Then in 2006, she began tooling leather handbags, incorporating textiles created by Thailand’s Hill Tribe people, like the one she makes in the video below:
“All of my designs are about our Thai lifestyle,” says Chirad. “I adapt local styles with modern trends. I am very glad that many people like my work and I am constantly working to improve.”
Chirad’s UNICEF Market collection is a celebration of Thai culture and a preservation of something just as precious: her family’s way of life:
“Taking care of my parents is most important.”
Thanks to UNICEF Market she can do just that and showcase the art and culture she loves.
Embroidered Birds and Flowers on Thai Shoulder Bag, $198.99