[This story first appeared in Koktail Magazine Issue 4.]
After a two-year hibernation due to the pandemic, fashion week in Bangkok returned in September, showcasing 15 of the country’s most finessed, big-name designers. While some of these Thai fashion powerhouses truly pushed the envelope and wowed audiences with concepts extending beyond clothes, it was also a pleasure to witness Bangkok International Fashion Week’s rookie stage, where fresh fashion design graduates from universities across the country were given the opportunity to tease their points of view. Understandably, these student designers do not yet have their own brands, however, the exercise has inspired us to shine the spotlight on lesser-known Thai fashion brands that are admirably passionate about their vision and have the potential to shake up the industry in a positive way.
Established in 2018, the eponymous brand of young Thai designer Shone Puipia has carved out its niche among contemporary luxury wearers with seasonless designs and a made-to-order policy that collectively challenge the trendy fashion landscape. Available for viewing at his showroom/home studio soi sa:m in Suan Phlu Soi 3, the latest collection, Afterglow 2022, brings out a subtlety and sensuality in the brand while still staying true to an identity of dramatic patterns, colours, and silhouettes.
soi sa:m, 588 Soi Suan Plu 3
Open Monday-Friday, 10am-6pm
Instead of playing catch-up with fast fashion and hyperactive algorithms, co.pinion has stood its ground in its mindful practice. With recent collections, the brand has encouraged customers to pre-order to prevent over-production as well as offer room for tailoring requests. In terms of aesthetics, co.pinion’s off-kilter basic wear embraces adaptable design. The brand’s “sleeves tie”, for instance, can double as a belt, purse strap, scarf, or top
R.White is the companion to lacewear brand Rotsaniyom. While Rotsaniyom channels accessible everyday wearing, R.White is the creative director’s vehicle for more conceptual designs that highlight artistry and, at times, political messages. Both brands lean into individualistic style, timelessness, and gender fluidity.
With the purpose of securing a harmonious relationship between technology and environmentalism, Earthology Studio uses innovative manufacturing techniques to blend their recycled polyester (r-PET) with natural fibres, creating a cuttingedge textile that is a gold mine for high-quality and flexible garments. If you’re thinking of adding sustainable staples to your wardrobe, consider Earthology Studio’s tote bags, swim trunks, sweaters, and tees.
Its “Tiety” bag was what put Grofe on the map. The memorable tote made out of secondhand neckties allows the designer to experiment with colourways, patterns, and silhouettes. But be warned: if you’ve become a fan of the brand, prepare to fight over these one-of-a-kind pieces as they are mostly sold out on the spot.
A label that’s all about timeless, slow fashion and natural textiles, EVERYTHING est OK sources its linen, cotton, and chambray materials locally while also supporting skilled weavers in Chiang Mai. The pull of the brand is its well-constructed garments that are flattering on all body types and wearable on many occasions. In short, a closet must-have.
A brand built on the foundations of experimentation and playfulness, poons-peeds initially captured attention with its 3D breasts printed tees. From there, the brand has evolved, establishing an identity around spray painting techniques. Distancing themselves from fast fashion, poons-peeds’ pieces are made-to-order, allowing customers to personalise everything from sizing to some of the design aspects themselves. The brand also makes an effort to save its scraps to rework into future pieces.
What started as a personal project to unlock the founder’s inner monologue has become a clothing brand representing a complex intersection of sensuality, sweetness, and strength. Each collection has its own signature handwritten stream-of-consciousness print, which is incorporated into matching sets of garments. Separately, the plain denim pieces from Misty Storage are statements in their own right.
True to its name, this clothing brand sticks to its homemade principles and keeps production largely within the family, with only added specialised support from the local craftsmen in Chiang Mai’s San Pa Tong district. The brand’s batik, hand-dyed, and eco-printing techniques require attention to detail and natural resources. The effort doesn’t go unnoticed and neither does the emphasis on producing the least amount of waste while also empowering the community.