Thai fisherman pants are lightweight, unisex trousers, made very wide at the waist so that one-size-fits-all. The pants wrap around the waist, some are then knotted others have tapes that tie to form a belt. The excess material is then folded over the knot. Originally, these pants were adapted from sarongs and worn by Thai fisherman and farmers. This style of clothing is well suited to the tropical climate of Thailand as they are light and airy, quick-drying, secure and very comfortable. They are a true one-size-fits-all unisex garment that allows completely free movement of your body, even for the larger person. Perfect for casual wear and beachwear, as well as activities such as yoga, Tai Chi, meditation, martial arts and massage. Pregnant mums find them invaluable, and for travelers visiting temples and other religious areas, they provide a polite option to the normal travel wear.
Luckily, Koh Samui has its own specialist shop to provide for all your fisherman’s pants needs. The aptly named Fishermen Pants Shop in Lamai is owned and run by the extremely hospitable Erez Shmargad and his partner Belinda Basa. Erez moved here from India 15 years ago, to further develop the business closer to his source of inspiration. They live above the shop, which is a traditional Thai house very close to the sea, and Erez ensures that his house is an open-house. Take your time to peruse the fantastic top quality clothing, and if you are lucky, Erez may invite you join him for coffee and possibly to share some food. It’s Erez’s Israeli hospitality, and his way of saying thank you for visiting his shop.
So, what is special about these particular fisherman’s pants? After all, you can buy cheap and flimsy versions in many shops in Thailand. Erez and Belinda have worked tirelessly over the years to develop and source the finest quality fabrics including cotton, linen hemp, silk and other organic materials, all of which are dyed by hand. Patterns and designs vary from tie-dye to Indonesian batik, intricate embroidery and finely woven colourful silks from India, Nepal and the sub-continent. Extremely patient Thai tailors with an eye for detail, hand make all the clothes, giving high-quality finished garments. Erez and Belinda use their considerable global experiences to develop their artistic range, offering impressive, ever-changing collections of uniquely designed, fantastic looking, extremely comfortable, hardwearing and functional clothing. But despite the name of the shop, they don’t just sell fishermen pants. They now have inspiring collections of fishermen shirts, farmer shirts, dresses, Thai sarongs, Kantha scarves, bags and hats. All clothing is unisex and free-size, so one size fits all.
The fishermen shirts are 100% cotton, long-sleeved, have no buttons and no zippers. The farmer shirt differs by being sleeveless, with coconut buttons at the front and a nifty pocket. Both are available in many colours and are ultra-comfortable and stylish to wear.
The dresses are in a whole league of their own. Original collections were limited to black and white colours, but newer collections have introduced more colourful shades and styles. Designs are inspired by the geometric shapes of nature, and natural fabrics are carefully handcrafted, blending a unique combination of Indian and ancestral batik style dying, hand-screening and hand-block printing techniques. In block printed batik, carved wood is dipped in hot wax and then stamped onto the fabric, which is then dipped in dye. The wax covered parts of the cloth resist absorption of the dye and reveal the patterns transferred from the block when the wax is washed off. It is an inverse version of basic block printing. Javanese crafts have deep ties with the universe and the traditional colours are indigo, black, brown and white. The results are dramatic and make a statement. The Zebra and Batman dresses use this technique. Currently popular are the Hi-Lo kaftans. Short at the front and long at the back, it’s a multi-functional dress that goes with swimwear during your holidays and as casual wear afterwards.
In Thailand, men and women regularly wear sarongs where the sheet of brightly patterned cotton or silk is wrapped around the waist and worn as a skirt. Today, sarongs are popular everywhere, and can be tied in a variety of ways or used decoratively around the home. They make great fast and easy cover-ups at the beach. Turkish beach towels, a thicker version of the Thai sarong are also available in an array of beautiful colours and designs.
Kantha scarves are a gorgeously colourful collection of vintage reversible scarves which can also be used as a shawl or furniture covering. ‘Kantha’ is a type of embroidery originating in the eastern regions of the Indian subcontinent, specifically in Bangladesh and the Indian states of West Bengal, Tripura and Odisha. The cloth is covered with running stitches, employing beautiful motifs of flowers, animals, birds, geometrical shapes and themes from everyday activities. The stitching gives the cloth a slightly wrinkled and wavy effect. These Kantha scarves are a cotton/silk mix and made from two different designs of saris which are stitched together in very fine and detailed Kantha embroidery, hence they are reversible. Each one is handmade, unique and vintage so may have a few slight imperfections, which just adds to their beauty.
The Rubber Tree Bag, Beach Bag (both made from the ubiquitous Thai rubber tree), Nepal bag and Hill tribe bag are all made from natural and traditional materials with a modern twist that provides function and form.
Fishermen Pants sell top-quality clothing and accessories. You will find their products in the high-end hotels on the island such as Banyan Tree, Four Seasons and Tongsai Bay. You can also chat and buy online at their website, and get further information on their Instagram or TripAdvisor pages, buts it’s a real experience to visit the shop if you are here on Samui. Coming from Chaweng, take the first road on the left signposted to Lamai beach, turn left again at the first crossroads and the store is on the left side. You can’t miss it; the outside is decorated with Tibetan prayer flags. Opening times are 10:00 am until 7:00 pm daily, except Sundays, when the store is open from 2:00 pm until 10:00 pm. Outside those times, just give them a call.
For true island hospitality, amazing collections of gorgeous relaxing clothing in natural fabrics, visit Fishermen Pants Shop. Wear them and just wait for those compliments. Happy fishing!
For further information, telephone 0 895 865 263 or 0 623 516 192. www.fishermenpants.com