Paris, London, Milan and… Bangkok? The Thai capital might not be quite up there with the world’s fashion capitals, but its young designers have been making quite a splash as of late. And it’s not surprising: Thailand has always had style – think the ornate, traditional wrap-around cloths we know as sabais or panungs – they just never called it fashion.
Back in the 1960s, designer Jim Thompson brought Thai silk to the pages of American Vogue, reviving a forgotten industry and firmly placing the country on the fashion map. Several decades (and hundreds of trends) later, local style has changed tremendously and Thailand’s emerging talent is at the forefront of a new Asian aesthetic. On your next trip, make time to check out the following labels:
Bangkok-based Tutti Wongpuapan successfully launched her womenswear brand back in 2007, after studying fashion design at London’s esteemed Central Saint Martins. Amongst other places, her feminine collections are now stocked at Bangkok’s chic Emporium shopping centre alongside French houses such as Cartier and Louis Vuitton (oh là là!). Tutti’s designs feature a strong, personal touch that’s a direct reflection of her childhood memories. Fans of the brand – you bet that includes us – love the designs’ nostalgic quality. In fact, judging by the label’s many pastel-coloured chiffon dresses and organza skirts, Tutti must have spent her childhood dreaming about being a princess!
Prefer things a bit more casual? Greyhound is perhaps Thailand’s most contemporary brand – although they’re not exactly new kids on the block. Founded in the 1980s by four friends with a shared interest in the arts, the streetwear label is known for its bold graphics, monochrome prints and loose fits (move over, Scandinavian minimalist fashion!). If you’re naturally drawn towards the ‘haute street’ aesthetics of Supreme or Balenciaga, you’ll love Greyhound. And rest assured their quality is on par with designer brands, as well: they did 100% cotton t-shirts decades before anyone ever worried about synthetics. Today, Greyhound has a remarkable thirteen stores and concessions around Bangkok.
Pym and Dee
No outfit is complete without matching jewellery, right? That’s probably what sister duo Siripim and Naruedee Apinuntakulchai – or simply Pym and Dee – were thinking when founding their brand in 2012. Since then, they’ve designed a vast number of timeless rings and necklaces, spanning from the astrology-inspired ‘Myth of Origin’ collection (a geometry-aficionado’s dream) to the playful pieces found in the ‘Mystery Love’ collection. Simplicity and elegance are key to everything Pym and Dee touch, giving most of their lines a unisex look. Still, travellers on the hunt for men’s jewellery should look out for the collar clips and button covers of the ‘Dakota’s’ collection, available at Bangkok’s popular Siam Center and EmQuartier.
See that girl wearing a Chanel dress for a 7/11 run in Silom last night? Or was it Valentino? Though chances are she actually wore Sretsis. On its way to become Thailand’s most luxurious high-fashion name, the brand does everything from beachwear to baby’s first couture – and before you ask, there’s some menswear, too. Creative director Pimdao Sukhahuta’s tongue-in-cheek designs are a tropical tour de force with a European twist that’s gaining momentum with international retailers, from LA to Australia. Though we recommend you head for their stunning flagship store in the Thai capital instead – it’s set in an antique library!