30 March 2017
Soft and breathable. Fluffy and light. Pure and natural. When you hear the word "cotton", what comes to mind?
Whatever imagery the word evokes, cotton is an important fiber cultivated and utilized in clothing around the world. In addition to its versatility and utility, cotton represents a 7,000-year history of human innovation and adaptation.
The history of fabric, textiles and fashion is interlinked with cotton- in fact, cotton is rooted in the Arabic word "khutun" literally meaning "textile". While our concept of cotton varies depending on our culture and general knowledge of textiles, one thing is certain; cotton is used everywhere. It has a long history of providing comfort and protection to people as light, breathable clothing. And while human innovation and industry has altered the way in which cotton is processed, its utility is nothing new. Some of the earliest evidence of cotton was found in the form of threads located in a copper bead dated back to the 6th millennium. Today, cotton remains the primary fiber in a myriad of fabrics around the world.
Cotton is a natural, versatile fiber derived from shrubs and trees of the genus Gossypium, a word the originated from the Arabic word goz, meaning “soft substance”. The Gossypium plants produce white flowers which transform into pink, blue and purple before falling off. During this transformative process, the boll of the plant containing the cotton fiber forms. Eventually the boll splits open and dries, revealing approximately 500,000 soft, white cotton fibers called lint. These fibers are the basic form used to create the wide variety of fabrics utilized today. Cotton is transformed into a thread and then a purposeful product, including clothing and linens. It is renowned for soft feel, breathable wear and versatile style.
Approximately 43 species of cotton grow around the world, but only five are harvested and used commercially: American Upland, American Pima, Asiatic, Egyptian and Sea-Island. All of these plants share the same basic characteristics, but each has small variations based on their growing process, location and method of harvesting. Cotton is grown and harvested in warm climates and is exported to countries around the world.
The process of making cotton involves multiple steps and is defined by transformation. The lint from the cotton plant is collected and taken to a manufacturing plant where it is cleaned and combined, forming a large cotton fluff. The cleaned cotton fluff is then straightened and stretched to form a rope-like sliver. The newly formed sliver is placed onto a spinning frame, where it is transformed into yarn fibers.
The yarn fibers are then placed on a machine known as a loom, which weaves the fibers together to produce a specified fabric. Finally, the unmarked fabric, appropriately called “grey goods”, is transported to a finishing plant where it is bleached, preshrunk, and dyed. The dyed cloth is treated with a finish, and then the fabric is transformed into the soft, light clothing for people to wear. Cotton is especially popular in the tropical climate of Thailand due to its light feel, breathability and protection from the elements.
Cotton plants provide more than fibers to make cloth, they are also vegan friendly. It is a great option for vegans as it is naturally derived from plants and avoids using animal products during its cultivation and production.
In summary, cotton goes beyond a fluffy concept - it is a historic fiber that continues to play a vital role in our clothing, culture and world. It is ubiquitous and found in every nation, and simultaneously unique, as it is dyed and processed to create culturally specific clothing and style. Without the cotton plant and the process of transforming it, our clothing and world would not be as colorful, comfortable and fashionable as it is. So, next time you hear the word “cotton” or read it on a clothing label, remember that this ancient fiber carries a rich history, as well as being the soft, breathable fabric used around the world.
22 February 2017
Pregnancy is an incredible time for many soon-to-be parents. If you are an expectant parent or a person looking for the perfect unique gift, check out our collection of Thai pants. Our varieties of Thai pants are a perfect blend of style, utility, comfort that will support you or your loved one through the changes and challenges of pregnancy.
Pregnancy is a time of immense change for the body. Many women purchase specialized maternity clothes to accommodate their changing figures, only to not use the clothes again when the pregnancy is complete. A new you does not have to equate to a new wardrobe! Thai pants offer the unique function of being awesome during pregnancy as well as after, offering a flattering, stylish look. You won’t need to store them in a box for later or donate them to a charity shop- they continue to be functional, stylish and comfortable no matter what life stage you are exploring.
Thai pants give any mother the comfort and space needed during pregnancy recovery. Every pair is made of soft, durable cotton that adjusts and flows with your body. The design of the pants are free from any annoying buttons or zippers that can press on scar tissue and take up your valuable time. They are flattering during and after pregnancy, and perhaps most important, easy to get in and out of!
Thai pants are uniquely designed by artisans in Thailand. The bright color and design blends represent style and Thai culture, and always make a statement. Pregnancy is a time for change, but no one needs to lose their style! Thai pants allow you to explore your personal style and branch out into a different fashion - equipped with color and comfort. Not into the the peacock pants design? Try out the classic style instead! The pants are also versatile and can be used in a variety of situations, from going out on the town to lounging around the house on a lazy Sunday.
Thai Pants are functional during and after pregnancy. The elastic waist can be pulled up and adjusted to become a jumpsuit. This jumpsuit is stylish and comfortable while allowing effortless access to breast-feed. The pant tie allows for increased security by tying comfortably around the neck.
Thai pants exemplify comfort, utility and a unique Thai style. Extra bonus - they are also vegan and eco-friendly. Every pair purchased supports local artisans in Thailand, upholds the Fair Trade promise and is kind to the environment. Thai pants look good, feel good and give you a reason to feel good about treating yourself and supporting ethical causes.
Our collection of Thai pants are always ready to help you find your flow and promote comfort during and well after pregnancy.
18 January 2017
People are, more than ever, focused on money. Our focus on the value of money can be so great that we fail to recognize the elaborate art and symbolism that each monetary note represents to a culture. Consider when you travel to a new country with unfamiliar currency- you may be preoccupied with identifying the value each coin or bill represents, and fail to observe the symbolism each piece carries. In Thailand, every coin represents both monetary and cultural value.
Thai money is aesthetically pleasing- the bills are comprised of various colors and designs, and the coins are equally elaborate. Thailand has a repertoire of six coins (4 baht and 2 satang)- each adorned with a famous Thai temple. In this sense, each coin represents more than a pad thai or Chang beer- it represents the value of temples in Thai culture.
Temples (called “wats” in Thai) are integral to Thai society and represent the Buddhism practiced by the majority of the population. Historically, temples were a place of religious worship and community education, including teaching pupils to read, write and develop culturally vital artisan skills such as mural painting and sculpture. The importance of temples is evident by sheer numbers- Thailand is home to over 40,000 temples around the country. Out of thousands of temples, the six most iconic made the cut to be on the coins.
Which baht coins hold which temples? Explore below to find out more about the temples and their cultural significance.
1. The 1-baht coin is garnished with the Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaew). This temple is considered the most important in all of Thailand, and is visited by thousands of people everyday. Located on the grounds of the world famous Grand Palace, Wat Phra Kaew houses an image of Buddha carved entirely from a jade stone block. This Buddha is revered as palladium (an object that provides safety and protection) for Thailand, and is important as a national and historic symbol.
2. The 2-baht coin has two designs: a silver one and a brass colored version. Flip the coin to reveal the temple of the Golden Mount (Wat Saket), located in Bangkok. The Wat Saket is one of Thailand’s oldest temples. The iconic “golden mount” is an 80-meter tall chedi that was once the highest point in Bangkok. The chedi houses relics of the Buddha brought from India.
3. The 5-baht coin is adorned with the the Marble Temple (Wat Benjamabophit, which means fifth King in Thai). The temple was constructed in 1899 during the reign of King Rama V and is considered one of the most beautiful temples in Thailand. The ordination hall is constructed from Italian marbles slabs, which have lead to the temple being earning its name: the "Marble Temple".
4. The 10-baht coin is distinctive, with a brass colored center surrounded by a silver ring. It is appropriately adorned The Temple of Dawn (Wat Arun or locally known as Wat Chaeng) a striking temple located near the Chao Phraya River. Compared to other temples, Wat Arun is known for its unique architecture, particularly its colorful spires. Its location on the river allows for breathtaking sunrises. It is named after the Hindu god Aruna, who is commonly represented as light rays from the rising sun.
Community life in Thailand continues to be centered around its many unique temples. The temples represent a significance to Thailand's past and present culture, as they offer a modern place to gather and worship under significant historic relics and architecture. Unlike the coins they are depicted on, the temples will continue to be invaluable sites to Thai society and culture.
01 December 2016
When traveling in a different country, one should always try to familiarize ourselves with some basics around the culture. Cultural differences will always exist, but you can try to avoid accidentally offending someone by learning some fundamentals.
The most common gesture you'll see in Thailand is hands held together in front of the chest. You'll see this whenever someone says hello, goodbye or thank you to you. “Wai” is a gesture of respect, politeness and gratitude. The higher and closer the hands are to the face and the lower the bow, the more respect is being shown.
Respect is important in Thai culture, as you'll see. For example, sitting above an older person can be considered rude, as is pointing at someone with your finger. If you need to do so try to gesture with your whole hand.
Also important in Thailand is to never point your feet at someone or at a Buddha statue, as the feet are considered dirty. Do not put your feet on desks, chairs and so on. Shoes should be taken off before entering temples (wats) and some houses or stores.
Additionally, never touch someone's head, as the head is considered holy. In general Thai culture is not a very touchy-feely one, so do not go around touching people you do not know. Hugging, kissing and even handshaking is very uncommon when greeting someone in Thailand.
In general you should use your right hand for handing things to people, gesturing and so on, as the left hand can be considered dirty (traditionally it was considered the hand to be used for “toilet functions”).
Standing around with your hands on your hips can also be seen as impolite, as it indicates impatience. When you are waiting for a shopkeeper try to remember to keep your hands by your sides. When paying, try to straighten out the bills before handing them to the shopkeeper.
As in many other cultures, staring at people is considered rude and should be avoided. Direct, prolonged eye contact can also be seen an impolite and intimidating and should therefore be avoided.
A gesture of a circle with the thumb and index finger (commonly known as the “OK sign”) is a sign of understanding. The V sign or victory sign (making a V with your middle and index fingers) is similar to Western countries, indicates winning, cheering or success.
Putting your thumb, index finger and little finger up with your palm facing away from you indicates “I love you”. Similarly, putting your thumbs and index fingers together in the shape of a heart in front of your heart/chest also indicates love or sympathy.
Placing your palms together on your lap, on top of each other with your thumbs touching, is the gesture of “samadhi” and is the way many Thai monks in Theravada Buddhism meditate (as opposed to hands on the knees popularized in many images).
Hopefully this guide will make you feel a bit more comfortable traveling in Thailand. Like our Facebook page or Pinterest for more on Thailand and Thai culture and customs.
15 November 2016
These days it is pretty unlikely you haven't ever heard the word "vegan". Searches for the word vegan and related terms have doubled and tripled over the past few years, according to Google Trends. The number of people switching to a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle have been increasing by the thousands worldwide. More restaurants are implementing vegan menus and new fully vegan restaurants are popping up. Still, while you might know that vegans avoid bacon and cheese, you might not know a lot about vegan clothing and how it fits in to the vegan lifestyle.
Vegans try to live a life that avoids the exploitation of animals, wherever is possible and as much as is possible. Most vegans see veganism as a way of life rather than a diet (people who just avoid animal products for health reasons say they are on a "plant based diet). That means rethinking not just the food we put in our mouths but also other things such as our forms of entertainment and the clothes we choose to wear.
But what's not vegan about clothing? Well, unfortunately many of the most common materials used for clothing these days are made from animal parts. Leather is usually made from cow hides or the hides of other animals. Wool comes from sheep (or cashmere from goats and angora from rabbits). Silk is actually made by moth caterpillars. All these options are not considered eco-friendly, and of course not friendly to the animals who are being killed or used for the materials.
Luckily those aren't the only options for our clothing materials. Cotton, a popular material in the textile industry, is made from plant material, as is rayon, which is becoming a more popular alternative to materials made from animals. While cotton is picked and spun from the cotton plant, rayon is actually made from wood pulp and other plant fibers. Rayon can actually imitate the texture of wool or silk - no animals needed! Cotton and rayon are both animal-friendly, eco-friendly materials that luckily are also very comfortable and breathable.
Today more and more people are realizing that they can live a vegan lifestyle in comfort and ease. Even if you aren't fully committed to living a vegan lifestyle, you can reduce the amount of animal products you consume without hurting your comfort level. Such a move is kinder to the environment, the animals and ourselves.
At Hippie-Pants we're committed to offering products that are sustainable, eco-friendly and animal-friendly, without compromising quality or comfort. Check out our online catalogue to find breathable, comfortable pants that you can enjoy while knowing no animal has suffered for it. If you share our passion for sustainable clothing, feel free to follow us on Facebook or Pinterest.
11 May 2016
Thai is, of course, spoken in Thailand but also in parts of Cambodia and Laos. In total approximately 60 million people in the world speak this language. However, it is one of the most difficult languages to learn for Westerners, particularly because the alphabet is so different from the one we are used to.
The alphabet is derived from the ancient Khmer Empire of Southeast Asian. As far as we know, the language was created in 1283 by King Ramkhamhaeng. To get a basic notion of Thai we need to note that the language consists of five vocal tones: high, medium, low, rising and falling. Those who speak Western languages may be unfamiliar with the importance of such tones, but in Thailand they are essential. Depending on how you say a word determines its meaning. One commonly cited example of this is the word “suea,” which can mean either shirt or tiger depending on the tone that is used.
The Thai alphabet itself consists of 44 consonants, 32 vowels and 6 diphthongs. Due to these complexities, for those who want to learn the language, it is considered best to start learning to speak it, rather than trying to write or read it. Another oddity with Thai is that there are no spaces between words. The words, letters and sentences are all joined up in one continuous stream.
Furthermore, there are several dialects of the language in the country. Northern Thai, for example, is a language spoken in northern areas as well as in parts of neighbouring Laos. Phu Thai is a dialect of the Isaan language in the North East of the country. Each region also has its own slang which undoubtedly enriches the country's culture but complicates the task of the learner.
Despite being the main language spoken in Thailand, English is also widely spoken in urban centers such as Bangkok. However, in less touristic areas and smaller cities, communication will be a little more complicated though not impossible.
Thailand is a beautiful country, with a fascinating culture, rich traditions, and an abundance of interesting history to learn. Discovering its language is part and parcel of any travel experience and will further enrich your stay in this beautiful Kingdom.
We try and promote Thai culture here at Hippie-Pants and support local communities by producing our handmade pants in rural areas of the country. Follow us on Facebook or on Pinterest if you share our passion for Thailand and Thai culture.
07 April 2016
Hippie-Pants menswear collection was launched earlier this year and aims to bring our customers modern, Thai-inspired pieces for men. This type of clothing offers comfort as well as facilitating freedom of movement for men of any age or size.
Like the other clothing products in our store, men's pants are all handmade, giving them a high quality finish. They are made of 100% cotton and feature wrist-deep side pockets. The pants have a drawstring waist, which allows them to be worn by men of various sizes (the official waist range is between 71 cm and 122 cm) and be adjusted tighter or looser according to the wearer’s personal preference.
Thai pants in general are ideal for yoga and meditation, and are a great option for those who want to exercise and participate in activities that require flexibility and freedom of movement. This is the reason they’re often bought to use for dance, theater and even skateboarding or parkour.
Thai menswear may seem very different at first glance, but it’s not difficult to combine these pants with other clothes you probably already own! To help new customers we’ve prepared three tips on how to dress fashionably in your new Thai pants with items you already have in your closet!
Short sleeved shirts (polos and V necks both work) are a good option. Pants in shades of beige, red, green and blue go well with neutral colors such as white, black and gray. Less colorful pants (such as brown and black) look great with brighter colors like red, blue, green and yellow.
It is important to pay attention to the print of your chosen pants. Larger prints tend to draw more attention. What you want to do is balance the look and make sure the focus is on the design of the pants. Neutral, slogan-less T-shirts are your best option with these types pants.
Although the pants are perfect for indoor activity and can be worn without shoes, they are also great for events such as concerts and festivals. In these cases, combine your pants with shoes in neutral or muted shades like black and brown. If possible, opt for leather sandals, earthy moccasins.
Another great feature of Thai pants is that you can adjust the length, so you can choose to leave them at ankle height or adjust them higher up the waist depending on your chosen footwear.
Our menswear range looks good with braided leather bracelets, men’s necklaces or other wood or natural-looking accessories. You can even use gemstones and anklets if you want to add to the natural look.
Of course, there are many ways to dress and, ultimately the choice is yours. Browse our product photos for inspiration and tag us on social media with your own look, we’d love to see it!
25 February 2016
When it comes to different cultures, traditions can be both surprising and fascinating in certain areas of the world. What seems obvious in one country, might seem extremely odd in another. In Thailand traditions are an important part of the local culture. One of the most interesting traditions in Thailand concerns what people do with the placenta after a woman gives birth.
In a country of strong customs rooted in Buddhism, placenta rituals require some extra effort on the family’s part. One of the most important factors in Buddhism is ensuring good luck and eliminating bad energy and is a key part of the daily lives of Thais. After delivering a baby, the first thing that is done is to treat the placenta with salt for preservation purposes. Then it is placed in a clay jar and buried.
This is where accurate adherence to tradition becomes a little more complicated. Firstly, the direction in which the bottle should point when buried depends on the child's birth month: January, February and March should face south or southwest, April-June to the north, July-September to the north or northwest, and finally, October to December toward the south or north.
Furthermore, there are botanical rules to be followed. According to the child’s birth year, the clay jar holding the placenta should be buried near a tree of a certain variety. The guide for this is the Chinese Zodiac, or the Asian Life Cycle. For those not familiar, this zodiac relates the Chinese calendar to your animal cycle of 12 years. The Chinese Zodiac is thought to predict a person’s future as well as to determine their unique personality traits. For example, lotus and jackfruit are the guardians of the tiger and the dog (births in years 3 and 11 of the Chinese cycle, respectively), while coconut trees protect the years of the rat, rabbit and dragon (1 and 4). In order for this ritual to be completed successfully, both the positioning (as discussed above) and the burial site with the proper vegetation need to be followed closely.
There is, however, another ethnic group in Thailand that has a different belief. These people are the Hmong, who also occupy parts of China, Vietnam and Laos. In their language, placenta is translated as "coat". They believe that this is the first baby clothes and that after death, the soul returns to his homeland (where the placenta was buried) again wearing his “coat” to make his journey toward heaven of reincarnation.
According to the traditions of the Hmong, the baby’s placenta should be put in a place of honor, buried under the main pillar of the house. This is a symbol of spiritual leadership and strength. In this culture, the father is responsible for all family decisions and the house as a structure is symbolic of that. This type of family structure is called patrilineal.
From an outsider’s perspective, sometimes others’ beliefs seem strange. All you have to do is realize we all have our spiritual traditions and superstitions, as well as good luck charms. Consider how a four leaf clover is thought to be a symbol of good luck, and crossing the path of a black cat means something bad is going to happen. There are many different traditions all around the world. In America, many women eat or keep the placenta of their child. What will you do with your placenta after welcoming your child into the world?
05 January 2016
Every culture has its traditions and customs. Thailand, of course, is no exception. The country has a number of very specific behavior patterns. The traditions about appropriate footwear are quite fascinating. If you are scheduled to travel to Asia, here's a valuable tip: take good care of your feet now. Why? They will be on show for the whole time you're there.
First things first: spirituality is very important to the people of Thailand. One’s head is considered the most important part of the body, because it is their connection to the divine. Because of this, no one’s head should be touched. A person’s feet, on the other hand, are a less noble part of their body because they are considered unclean. For this reason, one should never point one’s feet toward any Buddha statues, which are scattered throughout the country, nor toward a monk.
In many places it is considered offensive not to remove your shoes. This is taken so seriously that many Thai tourist sites have areas reserved for the shoes of your visitors.
There are some basic things you need to know for your travels. To begin with, never enter a temple if not barefoot. If there are no shelves available for you to store your shoes, make sure to leave them on the floor near the door. In Thailand, a popular belief is held that spirits protect the places they live and disturbing these entities would bring bad luck. For this reason, you should not step on or sit on the entrance of the gate to the household while wearing shoes. Whether you believe in such things or not, always be respectful to the views of others, particularly when you are a guest in their country.
This custom is also held in schools where shoes are left outside of the classroom on racks adorning the walls. Small shops also follow this tradition. Homes in Thailand are generally kept very clean and have polished floors. Leaving your shoes outside helps keep them clean as you will not be tracking any dirt from your shoes into someone’s house.
It is also important to know that traditionally, Thai families sit on the floor during meals, both in their homes and in restaurants, particularly in the northern areas of the country. When you’re sitting on the floor to eat, your food is generally served in small trays. The important rule to remember in this situation is that you should never have your feet pointed toward the food and, of course, be careful not to invade anyone’s space.
These traditions may seem complex and sometimes confusing, but don’t worry. If in doubt, always look for a pile of shoes, and if you see one then you’ll know you should remove yours. It is recommended that you wear sandals or flip-flops, as you will often be taking your shoes off and it’s just easier to wear something that can be easily removed and put back on. Another great tip is to carry baby wipes with you at all times so you can quickly remove any dirt from the soles of your feet.
Now you’re ready to begin your trip and enjoy all the wonderful sights Thailand has to offer!
Thai pants represent an important part of Thai fashion, namely lightness. Always made of loose and breezy fabric and often embellished with an Asian pattern, the pants confer a certain bohemian style to the wearer. Known for their vibrant, multihued colors and traditional prints, Thai pants are a distinctive part of many women’s wardrobes. But how should you wear them? Check out some tips on how to use Thai pants: