You’ll be missing out on some seriously stylish, quality wardrobe pieces if you think that the wholesale malls are all there is to shopping in Bangkok.
The last decade has seen a new crop of Thai designer labels each distinct from the next arrive on the fashion scene in Bangkok.
It’s all part of what Thai fashion designers like Polpat Asavaprapha consider a creative boom. We met the designer in Bangkok, as part of a press junket hosted by e-retailer Zalora; the online store now stocks nearly a dozen Thai designer labels including Asavaprapha’s namesake labels Asava and ASV, with more to come soon.
ASV Autumn Winter 2014. Images: Asava Group/ Zalora
“When I came back to Bangkok 10 years ago, the fashion industry here was driven by very feminine looking clothing, a lot of lace, very feminine details,” remembers Asavaprapha at the media meeting. The Thai designer studied fashion design at Parsons in New York and worked for Giorgio Armani and Max Mara before moving back to the Thai capital in 2004.
“Today, you see more variation in terms of fashion trends,” adds Asavaprapha. “You’ll see Asian designers coming in with different ‘essences’; many years ago, you’d only see girly designs. Now you see more minimal clothing, or [brands with] a rock-and-roll style.”
One caveat is that the sizing tends to run small for Thai designer labels, so some dresses and skirts may be a tad short for the taller women we know. Sizes average between UK size six to twelve for most brands; even more incentive for you to try it on yourself at the stores in Bangkok.
Fab finds from these young designer labels can also be more affordable than you would expect. Prices range from $200 odd to over $700 for a dress across most of these brands; investment pieces from Thai label Sretsis in comparison, can go up to over $1,000 for a dress.
Whether you’ve a weakness for prints, sweet lace or are in need of new work-friendly outfits, these designer brands have it all. We suss out the top and upcoming brands to shop for from Zalora’s Thai designer section and beyond, during your next trip to Bangkok.
Youthful, chic and playful, this sister label to Thai womenswear brand Asava can become your new go-to label for workwear staples. You’ll find a gamut of minimal, menswear-inspired tailoring in its vests (worn as crop tops), jumpsuits with lapels and tapered pants, as well as two-way pieces; unzip the lower half of a trenchcoat for instance, so you can wear it as a shorter motorcycle jacket too.
The injection of pastel hues, tri-colour stripes and zebra prints on jacquard also keep it oh-so-fun and young. And no, you won’t find a knockoff of the same print either. Creative director Polpat Asavaprapha shares that both Asava and its sister line ASV use customised fabrics like cotton taffeta as well as signature prints specially designed for his brands.
Prices range from S$71.30 for a strapless knit top to S$352.10 for a polyester jacket on Zalora Singapore. Go to asavagroup.com/asv for more information or follow the main Asava group Facebook page for more updates from the brand.
CURATED BY EK THONGPRASERT
Witty, polished and effortlessly feminine — that’s what you’ll find with the pieces from Thai eponymous fashion label Curated by Ek Thongprasert. The word ‘curated’ here, represents the designer’s selection of an art-inspired theme each season. “Each collection represents a contemporary artist’s philosophy, translated into fashion,” explains Thongprasert.
Yet you certainly don’t need to know art history by heart to love Thongprasert’s clothing label.
Curated by Ek Thongprasert Autumn Winter 2014. Image: Curated by Ek Thongprasert/ Zalora
He’ll add an unexpected zippered peplum onto trouser pants, ceramic-like embellishments on tops and dresses and even make a necklace out of an oversized fork and pearls; fun details that any individualistic fashionista will love.
Prices range from S$94.30 for a polyester shirt to S$503.61 for a midi polyester skirt on Zalora Thailand; this label will retail online on Zalora Singapore from February 2015. Follow the brand on Facebook and Instagram for more updates.
HIM & HER
This year-old Thai label gives streetwear just a touch more girly feel with peplums and pastel hues on tops and jackets, paired with matching shorts and printed midi skirts. It’s not fashion for the wallflower mind you.
Him & Her Autumn Winter 2014. Image: H&M/ Zalora
While the girl who wears Him & Her embraces schoolgirl chic with peterpan collars on statement tops, her crop tops bare a little more of her midriff and her jackets and denim dresses come emblazoned with loud statements like “cash queen”. The cheeky inspiration for Autumn Winter 2014 has to do with a thieving French maid (hence the ruffles and peplum), with the cash-obsessed theme printed on co-ords through stripes of fake bank notes.
Prices start from S$63.87 for a hat to S$236.60 for a dress on the himandherstore.com; follow Him & Her on Instagram or Facebook for more information.
Thai fashion designer Karatphet (Kem) Issara considered herself more of a “dressmaker” when she first opened a store selling the clothes that she designed. She had no full seasonal “collection” to speak of, when she had first started; the more dresses she sold, the more she created to “put them on the racks” in her store. Then she had a career-changing moment when she showed her well-received eponymous line at Elle Bangkok Fashion Week in 2012; the rest as they say is history.
But we think those are humble words from a designer who has cut her teeth working for fashion houses the likes of Chloé, Roksanda Ilincic and Diane Von Furstenberg. Like the designer whom we’d met in Bangkok, the woman who wears Kem Issara is confident and sartorially adventurous enough to don a hot pink jumpsuit during the day and then a snazzy flapper dress that same night. You’ll see just a peek of midriff with the Kem Issara co-ords; pair them with her sleek, streamlined coats and you’re ready for a stylish day at work.
Prices start from S$192.33 for a skater skirt on Zalora Singapore. Follow Kem Issara on Facebook for more updates or visit www.kemissara.com for more information.
Need more partywear? Then don’t miss out on Thai womenswear brand Milin, the namesake label of designer Milin Yuvacharuskul. You’ll find subtly glittery frocks and print-centric dresses with dramatic bows, along with on-trend crop tops to go with your favourite statement skirts.
While you can find selected pieces in store at new Singapore boutique Occasional Glimpses of Beauty at Orchard Gateway level 2 and online at Zalora Singapore, we think this is one Thai brand you won’t get enough of, once you start; Milin’s print-crazy yet girly take on party dresses and separates with big bows and dramatic skirts is one that we’re hard pressed to find anywhere else. Stylish partygoers will be tempted to hunt out the full selection at its standalone store, located at level 3 of Siam Centre.
Prices start from S$150.94 for crop tops to S$360.24 for culotte pants on Zalora Singapore. Go to www.milin.com for more information or follow Milin on Facebook for more updates from the brand.
ROTSANIYOM WHITE LABEL
Rotsaniyom White Label. Image: Rotsaniyom
Lace-loving ladies, this bridal-worthy brand is the label to shop whether it’s for your big day or for some light-as-air frocks to wear every other day. Husband-and-wife team Pongsak Kobrattanasuk and Thita (Gift) Kamonetsawat started with casualwear for main label Rotsaniyom before introducing premium line Rotsaniyom White Label in 2013; the latter features lace in practically every piece of clothing in its collections.
But it’s not just ethereal lace dresses that you’ll find from this label. Streetwear staples like ripped tees and crop tops get a touch of lace trimming and are paired with frayed denim and its shirt dresses become layered with a mix of crochet, lace and tulle. Very bridal, very pretty; plus you won’t be able to find its pieces anywhere other than in Bangkok and at the label’s new flagship store in Jakarta’s Central Department Store Indonesia mall. You’ll be wise to snap up their pieces soon before everyone gets a hold of them too.
Prices start from S$51.81 for a tee to S$361.08 for a maxi dress at its main store at Siam Centre, Level 3. Visit www.rotsaniyom.com for more information on its premium line or follow Rotsaniyom on Facebook for more updates from the brand.
If Him & Her is for the hip-hop loving fashionistas, Something Boudoir is the slightly Disney-fied alternative to streetwear.
Something Boudoir Spring Summer 2015. Images: Something Boudoir
Candy coloured hues and whimsical prints are de rigueur for the Something Boudoir girl. For Spring Summer 2015, crop tops and skirts come in prints — poisoned fruits and all — inspired by Disney villains the likes of Cruella de Vil from 101 Dalmatians and Ursula from The Little Mermaid.
Something Boudoir Spring Summer 2015. Images: Something Boudoir
It’s streetwear, with an irresistibly sweet slant and on-trend for the girl who never gets enough of her favourite fairytales.
The feminine, print-fantastic wardrobe of Thai womenswear label Sretsis is one that’s been a hit in Bangkok and abroad; it’s already been worn by quirky style stars Zooey Deschanel and Katy Perry.
Sretsis Spring Summer 2015. Image: Sretsis
Founded in 2002 by sisters Pim, Kly and Matina Sukhahuta, Sretsis (‘sisters’ spelt backwards) is known for its diverse and dreamy mix of prints every season. The West Coast-inspired Spring Summer 2015 however, gives the Sretsis girl a more rock chic attitude with biker jackets mixed with its signature prints.
While local multi-label boutique Lula Rock at Palais Renaissance does stock selected pieces from Sretsis, any fan of the brand will still love to visit the label’s flagship store at the new Central Embassy mall in Bangkok.
The Sretsis flagship store at Central Embassy, Bangkok. Image:Sretsis
It’s decked out like a library (albeit with more clothes than books) with rich wooden furnishings, leather-bound tomes and a fantastic carpet featuring a starry cloudy sky. While at the mall, be sure to check out the Thai fashion brand’s new line Sincerely Yours. Currently stocked exclusively at the multi-label store Siwilai at Central Embassy, Sincerely Yours is replete with comfy loungewear and some chic day dresses for women and the young ones too.
Prices range from S$100.32 for a cotton tee to S$1,243.97 for a polyester and crepe coat dress on Zalora Thailand; select pieces from the brand is expected to be stocked on Zalora Singapore soon. Go to www.sretsis.com or follow the brand on Facebook and Instagram for more information.
WHERE TO SHOP
Central Chidlom, Level 2 (Thai Thai at Central Chidlom)
Located at level 2 of the womenswear department in the Central Chidlom mall, this section stocks young designer labels ASV, Asava, Curated by Ek Thongprasert, Kem Issara, Milin and more so you can shop your fill of Thai brands at this one spot.
Address: Central Chidlom, Level 2, 1027, Soi Somkid, Thanon Phloen Chit, Bangkok 10330,/ Tel: 662-2793-7000.
Siam Centre, Level 3
A must-visit for fashionistas, this mall houses the standalone stores of many young Thai fashion and accessories brands including Rotsaniyom, Something Boudoir, Lalalove London alongside established homegrown labels Senada Theory, Greyhound and Fly Now.
Siam Centre is located at Siam Tower, Rama 1 Road, Bangkok, Pathumwan 10330, Thailand. Go to www.siamcenter.co.th/index.php for more information.
Something Boudoir’s flagship store is located at Siam Centre, Level 3, Siam Tower, Rama 1 Road Pathumwan 10330, Bangkok; the boutique also stocks other Thai brands including Him & Her.
Sretsis flagship store in Bangkok is located at Central Embassy, 2nd floor, 1031 Ploenchit road, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330. You can shop for its Sincerely Yours line at multi-label boutique Siwilai at Central Embassy, 5th floor.
Zalora Singapore also stocks selected Thai labels including ASV, Him & Her, Kem Issara, Milin and more online at www.zalora.sg/thai-designers.