From threads to trends: Chiang Mai couple behind Thailand’s elephant pants phenomenon

Photo courtesy of KhaoSod English

In Chiang Mai, a business duo are turning Thailand’s iconic elephant pants into a global trend.

Hailing from Chiang Mai, Kingkarn Samorn, the Managing Director, and Jakkaphum Samorn, the Director of Chinrada Garment Company, are the masterminds behind the rise of this iconic fashion phenomenon. From a small home office in 2013 to a sprawling modern factory in 2018, the couple’s journey is nothing short of a sartorial success story.

In an exclusive interview with Prachachat Business, the couple revealed their ambitious plans, preparing to unleash elephant pants as soft-power fashion items targeting the online livestream market in Thailand and beyond.

Chinrada Garment boasts an impressive 80% wholesale share, spanning both domestic and international markets. Countries like Korea, Japan, Taiwan, the US, Australia, China, France, Canada, and the Netherlands have all succumbed to the allure of the elephant pants. However, the couple hasn’t forgotten their roots, with 15% of sales happening through online channels and a factory store catering to the local crowd.

The company’s unique approach allows budding sellers to dip their toes into the market, with orders as low as 12 units. Wholesale prices ranging from 40 to 100 baht per item ensure sellers can keep their stocks dynamic. Kingkarn and Jakkaphum take pride in the fact that their products have become symbols of local pride, even in provinces developing their clothing symbols.

Chinrada Garment recently secured the license to produce cat pattern pants in collaboration with the Nakhon Ratchasima Chamber of Commerce. The company’s versatility shines as it adds cat pattern items to its repertoire, answering the increasing demand for feline-inspired fashion.

The entrepreneurial couple plans to cater to all age groups, introducing ten easy-to-wear garments with the iconic elephant pattern. From stretchy leggings to trendy dresses, they aim to captivate the hearts of children, teenagers, and seniors alike, reported KhaoSod English.

Soft power

Kingkarn advocates for the global recognition of elephant pants as more than just a trend. She envisions it as a symbol of Thailand’s soft power, urging the government to elevate it to a global trend. With a sales growth target of 50 %, Chinrada Garment is gearing up to increase its production capacity to meet the soaring demand, hoping to reach a staggering one million pieces per year.

“It is soft power. Wearing elephant patterns is now very popular among Thai people, especially teenagers who are more responsive to elephant pants. It has become a lifestyle and has led to job creation.”

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Puntid Tantivangphaisal

Originally from Hong Kong, Puntid moved to Bangkok in 2020 to pursue further studies in translation. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Hong Kong. Puntid spent 8 years living in Manchester, UK. Before joining The Thaiger, Puntid has been a freelance translator for 2 years. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and listening to music, as well as writing short fiction and poetry.

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