Two years ago, the world had a laugh with Balenciaga’s striped tote that resembled a deeply uncool Asian market bag. Now, Spanish megachain Zara did it again with the launch of a skirt that looks a whole lot like a lungi, a popular sarong-like skirt popular among older, working class, and rural men in Southeast and South Asia.
This checked midi skirt from the Spanish fashion house’s Spring/Summer collection has just hit the store and retails for THB2,990 (US$95). That’s a little bit excessive when you could have picked up a lungi, locally known as “pakaoma” in Thailand for THB60 in any local market.
Pakaoma is considered casual wear and associated with the rural life in Thailand. When driving out to the countryside, it’s common to see Thai grandpas sporting a pakaoma with a cotton shirt, or even without a shirt on a warmer day.
Men also wear a pakaoma for modesty when washing themselves in an outdoor Thai-style wash area.
The lungi skirt is not only popular in Thailand, but also in neighboring countries Myanmar and Cambodia.