August 23, 2017Posted by Bethany Larson Bloch
When you think of Bangkok, the first things that most likely come to mind are street food, temples, and the amazing nightlife. While it has all that, another thing thriving in Bangkok these days is indie fashion start-ups, and many of them are nestled near each other in Siam, a large neighborhood anchored by Siam Square, that’s become Bangkok’s version of Tokyo’s bustling, stylish Shinjuku. The HUNT Bangkok writer, Joe Cummings, has rounded up his picks of the boutiques most worth your time and money.
Pioneering local fashion brand Greyhound was founded by former advertising exec Bhanu Inkawat during the Asian economic crisis (which decimated the Thai baht and placed imported duds beyond the reach of almost everyone on a local salary) and produces duds for men and women. The signature look engages clean, contemporary lines with wearable fabrics, more recently updated with implicit and explicit graphics. The best thing about these threads is that don’t scream “business,” but can be worn to an office meeting.
When it comes to womenswear, the designers here are top-notch. Senada Theory‘s intricately crafted bohemian-luxe threads perhaps captures the zeitgeist of Thai fashion better than any other local house with its blend of vintage charm, ethnic chic and street funk. Designer Chanita Preechawitayakul has a penchant for all things quirky and eclectic, and constructs Indian, Chinese and Thai fabrics into hip streetwear. Heads up: Senada Theory doesn’t distribute outside of Thailand, so stock up while you’re in town.
One of the newest brands on the scene, innitbangkok (taken from the informal British expression for “isn’t it”) produces creative, appealing designs for a woman about town. Sisters Ploynisa and Ploynapatt Denjaruwong use light, breezy materials colored in solid blocks of earth tones – including lovely green hues – and basic black or white, rather than prints or patterns, and the overall effect of the collection evokes a casual elegance.
When Mollika Ruangkritya opened Kloset in 2001, she was among the first of a new generation of fashion designers who leaned on this nation’s textile tradition. Her unique designs of hand-stitched and embroidered fabrics adorned with lace and ribbon, often borrowing stylings from the ’60s and ’70s, quickly became de rigueur among local celebs and high-society ladies. The label has since become widely identified with contemporary Thai sartorial sensibilities both at home and abroad.
The dreamy yet confident aesthetic of Disaya has earned founder Disaya Sorakraikitikul, who was educated at Central Saint Martins in London and trained by no less than John Galliano, international recognition. Her playfully sophisticated ready-to-wear lines and jewelry are “flirty in design and luxurious in fabrication”: the goods are made with the likes of silk, lace, faux-fur and feathers in rich hues like dark navy, maroon and mustard yellow, and have been worn by the likes of Jennifer Lopez, Agyness Deyn and Camilla Belle, making this a must-stop for fashionistas when in town.
Another taste-maker favorite, Sretsis has been worn by Katy Perry, Leighton Meester, Rachel Bilson, Zooey Deschanel and Beyoncé. Founded by sisters Pim, Kly and Matina Sukhahuta, the idea behind Sretsis (“sisters” spelled backwards) is grounded in romanticism, though the silhouettes are fully modern and made of materials such as silk, chiffon, satin and velvet to create lovely get-ups that work just as well at a private dinner as on the red carpet. Word of warning: Sretsis’ flagship store has become so popular that opening hours are often kept short to prevent stock from selling out, so if you’re hell-bent on scoring something pretty, earlier is better.
About The HUNT Bangkok Writer: Though Joe Cummings was born in New Orleans and raised in California, France and Washington, D.C, an interest in Buddhism drew him to Thailand. He has contributed to several guidebooks on Southeast Asia, writing about subjects ranging from tattoos to dining to Muay Thai. He is currently editor-at-large for Bangkok 101, and also plays guitar and composes music for film and TV.
For more great insider recommendations, pick up The HUNT Guides on gatehousepublishing.com.