By Pattarawadee Saengmanee
The Sunday Nation
POPULAR CHIANG MAI-BASED brand Cottonopolis welcomes the Year of the Rooster with a new collection of clothes and home decor items all made from the purest cotton.
Owned and run by Srimakah “Mai” Sudtangtum and her sister, the brand was set up online in 2014 and has been thriving ever since. The name, explains Srimakah, who holds a master’s degree in fashion business management from University of Westminster in London, is borrowed from the nickname for Manchester City, which was famous for its cotton mills during the mid-19th century.
Fox lunch bag
That the sisters should choose to go into the textile business comes as no surprise to those who know them, as the Sudtangtum family has been running the textile-printing factory Maeping Phastraphorn for more than two decades.
The girls started with cotton scarves and bags screened with English roses and animals and their products quickly sold out at Chiang Mai’s Nimmanheamin Art & Design Promenade and Bangkok’s Ban Lae Suan Fair.
“I love travelling. While I was living in London, I used to wander around local markets to see how Europeans designed their products. When I came back to Chiang Mai, I shared my experience with my sister. We wanted to produce items that offered more than old-fashioned elephant prints and created a shop targetting women who wanted lifestyle products that were well cut, made from quality materials and at a price everyone can afford,” Srimakah says.
“We started by making accessories for everyday life and our ambition now is for people to think of us when they’re in Chiang Mai and looking for a souvenir or gift.”
Cloud-shaped pillows in different sizes and patterns
Cottonopolis now has more than 130,000 followers on Facebook and the sisters recently transformed some space in the family textile factory in Saraphi district, into a boutique.
Their country-cottage style products are available mainly in pastel shades and are crafted by local artisans from pure cotton and canvas.
“Our cotton has many textures, depending on different weaving techniques. We have waffle-weave cotton that’s soft and can absorb water very well, while our cotton canvas is thick, long-lasting and ideal for making handbags,” Srimakah says.
Only good quality colour screens from India and China are used for the well-designed products, which include triangular lunch bags that can double as a multipurpose bag and even handbags.
Summer Rose handbag
With patterns ranging from animals and flowers to polka dot and stripes, the best-sellers include cotton storage bags in different sizes and shapes, cute pot holders, scarves that can be paired with handbags and coin cases with the same design pattern, and a bathrobe made to resemble a Japanese yukata.
Late last year, Srimakah attended Thailand Creative and Design Centre’s design workshop series, where she received training on how to turn her inspiration into real products.
The result was her first collection of screened fashion apparel inspired by the lotus leaf, which was later selected for the TCDC Chiang Mai Design Week. The collection includes jumpsuits, tops, dresses, skirts, trousers and scarves.
Cottonopolis also has branches at Maya and Think Park shopping malls.
>> Cottonopolis is at 96/1 Ban Saraphi, Chiang Mai. It’s open Monday to Saturday from 9am to 5pm.
>> Call (084) 662 4629 or visit www.Cottonopolis.co.th and
“Cottonopolis” on Facebook.