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Fashion Design Volunteering in Northern Thailand Featured

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Location:  Chiang Mai, Thailand 
Type of Assignment:  Social development
Project Duration:  Minimum 8 Weeks 
Activities:  Work with local weavers and artisans in the design process of high quality organic textiles and fashion accessories made of recycled materials.


The Organization

How is the Organization involved with the community?

Despite the fact that tourism is one of the strongest areas in Thailand's economy, many communities find those economical benefits far out of reach. In the rural north, many families live below the poverty line, surviving on less than $52 a month. The organization, recognizing the wealth of potential opportunities, brings people of these communities the ability to become self-sustainable by providing them the knowledge, training, and market access.

Volunteer fashion designers help the a community reach sustainability with a stable incomes and jobs by expanding and enhancing the silk project and recycling fashion line. The organization seeks fashion designers to help in to different projects: textile production and the recycling program.

Background to the project and its aims?

The organization seeks fashion designers to help in to different projects: the silk project and the recycling program.

This grassroots organization is dedicated to helping illiterate, landless women and men build sustainable small businesses in Chiang Mai Province.

This project began as a microenterprise experiment after the region was determined to be an ideal location for producing eerie silk—which has historically been in short supply. The purpose of the project is to provide income to local weavers, and employ additional locals to grow worms, dye silk, and be involved in other stages of the production process.

Since then, high quality organic silk and cotton scarves that appeal to US, Australian and EU export markets, as well as domestic consumers and tourists, have sold well, bringing back a sustainable income to the local people. Volunteers will also work on a second fashion line of accessories made from recycled materials.

What are the daily volunteer activities in this project?

Volunteers will be working with the local weavers, artisans, and staff to help create and produce appealing products that the project will be able to sell to support its community.

Work will take place on the silk farm or in other local spots. They should expect basic and rustic living conditions, and be able to adhere to local customs.

Experience in design is a must. The organization is looking for someone with a design background or a student of design, fashion, or apparel production. Volunteers should also have:

  • An intense ambition to see a personal fashion line on the market.
  • A creative flair in designing new product lines.
  • The ability to build relationships with the community.
  • The ability to estimate material purchasing needs track purchases and inventory.
  • A strong attention to detail and good organizational skills.

Volunteer duties include but are not limited to:

  • Collaborating with local co-ops to prototype and produce designs on both fashion lines.
  • To continue working on developing the recycled fashion line using recycled materials common in the local community (e.g. rice bags, woven plastic banding, vinyl coated cloth, etc.).
  • Refining colors and designs for both the cotton and silk scarves.
  • Collaborating with Thai staff and volunteers to maximize efficiency.
  • Assisting in creating budgets estimating material needs and tracking purchases and inventory.
  • Assisting with other projects, as assigned.

All volunteers are required to teach English classes at the local community center for 2 hours a week. These 2 hours are part of your 40-hour work week.

Program Details

Quick facts about the trip:

Project duration:  Minimum 8 weeks
Project Location:   Chiang Mai Province, Thailand
Airport of arrival: Chiang Mai (CNX)
Activities:  Work with local weavers and artisans in the design process of high quality organic textiles and fashion accessories made of recycled materials.
Working Hours:  40 hour work week
Accommodation:  Volunteer house
Requirements:  Volunteers should have relevant experience in design, and the ability to come on-sight and offer knowledge and implement ideas.  Also, a criminal background check, or equivalent, since volunteers will have contact with children at the center.

What's included:

Accommodation:  Single or double in volunteer house with screens, western toilet, hot water, kitchen and internet.
Airport pickup
Local Transfers: a motorbike is provided for transportation between villages and the project site.
Pre-departure Orientation and Onsite Training: Volunteers receive a comprehensive workshop on being a volunteer in the project, safety and security in the destination country, culture shock, and pre-departure preparations.
Support: 24/7 during your volunteering time.

What's not included:

Flights, visas, insurance, meals.


Program Duration Cost (USD)
8 weeks 1,031.00
12 weeks 1,322.00
16 weeks 1,605.00
20 weeks 1,816.00
24 weeks 2,027.00
Additional weeks 153.00 per week

All Registration Fees are included in the prices above.