Whether its sen yai, guay jab or udon, Sasi Knits is here to satisfy your knit noodle cravings. Ji thought she’d be designing graphics, but instead, she’s designing textiles. From RISD to Alexander Wang to Mae Fah Luang, Ji’s journey through the world of textiles is an incredibly unique one. What’s in store for the future? Probably more noodles, if you know what we mean.
🖌 || How It All Began || 🖌
• Was it always your plan to study textiles?
No! Initially, I was going for graphic design – I was 100% sure of it. Before attending college, I went as far as declaring graphic design as my major.
• How did you discover textiles then?
For a month of my foundation year, I got the freedom to explore any discipline. I decided to give textiles a go and ended up loving it.
I’m so lucky I chose Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) because few schools offer textiles. RISD opened a door for me that I never knew existed.
• What’s a common misconception about textiles?
In Thailand, when someone says “textiles”, the first image that comes to mind may be handwoven silk fabrics. Although extremely beautiful, it can seem traditional and perhaps even outdated. You don’t get the impression it’s a subject you can actually pursue.
However, textiles is a really exciting and innovative field. I studied silkscreen, weaving, knitting, dyeing, the list goes on … there’s more to textiles than meets the eye.
• Were your family okay with this bold choice?
Yes, they supported anything that wasn’t architecture! [laughs] My grandfather and uncle were architects and my dad saw how exhausted they always were … he just didn’t want me to go through that.
🍜 || Sasi Knits || 🍜
• What was it like to work at Alexander Wang?
I was a Fabric Development Apprentice. Designers would outline the kind of fabrics they require in terms of weight, thickness, and colour. My team and I would then source the materials.
• What’s your current job?
I’m a freelance textile designer at Mae Fah Luang Foundation. In Thailand, there’s not a lot of places that’d allow me to design the fabric in terms of weave structure. So, I’m really glad to be working where I have the freedom to be creative.
• Tell us about #sasiknits!
Towards my final college years, I focused more on knitting and weaving. I shipped my massive knitting machine from New York to Thailand, and formed a little knitting station at home.
I made Sen Yai to wear myself, and I met some friends:
Your top is so pretty! I want one!
… I wasn’t thinking about creating a serious business and postponed knitting my friends’ tops for several weeks, but one had to fly abroad soon, so I had to quickly get to work. That’s how Sasi Knits began.
• What was the inspiration for your noodle concept?
All of my past projects revolve around food because food is super important to my family. We really love to eat and value a good meal together, so I’ve always enjoyed working with food.
• How long does it take to make 1 top?
It depends on the pattern but it can take up to a day. Then I have to sew the finishing touches, wash it and sew the tag by hand.
• What’s your vision for Sasi Knits?
Firstly, I want Thais to view textiles in a more modern light. It’s not outdated or boring – it’s fun! [smiles] As part of the new generation, we can learn to use traditional techniques to create something contemporary. Thailand has plentiful resources – we have a lot of room to explore and grow in this field.
Secondly, I want to spread the word about knitting. Most people see knitwear as winter clothes, therefore, there aren’t many Thai knitwear brands around. However, knitting is actually a very versatile technique – you can create so much more than just sweaters.
With Sasi Knits, all my materials are locally sourced from Chiang Mai, Lamphun etc. and I only use natural dyes such as hemp and longan bark peels.
In the long run, I hope to illustrate the beauty of Thai craftsmanship to a global audience. I’m proud to be Thai and want to showcase our cultural heritage.
✨|| Up Close & Personal || ✨
• Do you ever get tired of your work?
I think I’m really lucky to truly love what I do. Staying up late to knit is fun for me … hopefully, this lasts! [laughs]
• What’s an experience that’s shaped you?
My dad passed away in junior year. I’ve always understood that loss is a natural part of life, yet having a loved one taken away so suddenly made me more appreciative of the little moments in life.
My family has always been tight-knit and loving, but going through this loss together made me value my family even more too.
Despite the circumstances, I dove right back into college because I knew my dad wouldn’t have wanted me to delay my studies. I’m sure he would’ve wanted me to stay focused so I didn’t take any breaks.
• In your own words, what is love?
I’ve thought a lot about this question. [laughs] When I was younger, at mealtimes, my parents would always give my siblings and I the best part of the fish. I think that’s love; the willingness to give someone else the best parts of something.