Phibunsongkhram, better known as Phibun in Western historical accounts, had played a prominent role as a military officer in a coup that stripped Thailand’s monarchy of its absolute powers, and in 1938, he became prime minister.
Thailand, which was then known as Siam, had never been colonized, but it was surrounded by French and British colonies. Siam was also an ethnically diverse country with strong regional identities. Worried about his country’s independence, disintegration, and, most of all, support for his rule, Phibun decided to transform the country’s culture and identity.
Linen shirts have long been a summer staple. Not to be confused with its denser, denim-like cousin chambray (so 2014), linen is made solely from the fibers of the flax plant. The name comes from the Latin word for the plant, linum, and it’s correspondingly one of the earliest man-made fabrics. 36,000-year-old linen fibers were discovered in Georgia in 2009. Ancient priests wore it and pharaohs were buried in it.
Lately, linen is simply part of the palette of global fashion, as easy to encounter on the streets of Istanbul as Williamsburg.