CREATIVE THAI designers have long caught the eye of fashionistas at home and abroad but few have had quite the same impact as Boys of Bangkok. This group of young creatives has been dressing the country’s equally young and fashion-conscious males and continued to dazzle their fans at the highly anticipated Bangkok International Fashion Week 2019 (BIFW 2019) last weekend.
Smart, hip and taking cues from K-pop fashions, the clothes are mixed and matched in ways that ought not to work but do, offering a style that’s surprisingly attractive and creative.
Q Design and Play
Boys of Bangkok – BOB for short – encompasses three menswear brands –Leisure Projects by Nattapon Kanokvaleewong, P Mith by Anapat Thanakitpathompon and Pakphum Mithranon,and Q Design and Play by Praphat Somboonsitti and Ek Treechairusmee. Friends as well as business colleagues, BOB’s designers are aged between 27 and 33 years old and joined forces about three years ago to make a bigger impact on the market.
And they have succeeded admirably. Their fans, among them Pakorn “Tul” Thanasrivanitchai, Chanakan “Boss” Poonsiriwong, and Suppapong “Saint” Udomkaewkanjana, took up the entire front row at the recent showings.
With hints of neon lemon green and orange, the fashion show kicked off with Leisure Project’s spring and summer 2019 collection. Male models presented the laid-back separates made for lounging at Leisure Land, breathing the vibe of a summer trip to the beach and a few days on a yacht.
The palette ranged from beach-inspired hues like sky blue, white, beige and navy blue with pops of sportswear green and neon orange. Different fabrics were used and a unique embroidery technique was cleverly incorporated. Tops and bottoms were oversized, taking inspiration from sails catching the wind. Light and breathable cotton was layered to create an added dimension. Climbing ropes were used for decoration and to give an energetic vibe. Key materials came down on the side of comfort and included lightweight cotton, mesh, canvas and tencel accentuated with delicate details like ribbon, hand embroidery and quilting.
Designer Nattapon noted the Leisure Project’s guy is always in a good mood and relaxed, the kind of man who loves to wear local handcrafted fabrics.
Handmade accessories made of glass beads and sea shells added panache and were co-created with “Porshz Bead” while the watches were co-designed by Paraface, a up-and-coming Thai watch brand known for its bold colours and parachord straps.
Hot house beats raised the temperature for the second show, the “Power of Parents” collection by Q Design and Play. Inspired by Thailand’s unique trucks and their easily recognisable decorations and colourful graphics that speak volumes about the cheerful characters of Thais, the brand’s streetwear designers offered a unique total look. The collection told the story of Thai society from a playful perspective in prints meshed with black, red, yellow and blue with neon pops and matched with accessories from Column. This summer line fully embraced the brand’s fun character.
The greenish-yellow fluorescent ore mineral with a remarkable structure known as Autunite inspired P Mith’s “Startrum” collection, which showed off the distinctive colour and blended it with grey, brown, white and navy blue. Key materials were finely woven wool, cotton and soft leather along with metallic mesh and neon green and transparent plastic. Natural stone layers were also turned into prints on sheer satin and see-through fabric. Long-sleeved oversized shirts and fine details were presented in a tailored structure.
“Boys of Bangkok is unique in that all three brands have different characteristics. Each fashion item can be mixed and matched for a fun look. There is no fixed style; we are individualistic,” noted Anapat, adding that P Mith represents the modern and fashionable gentleman.
“Our fans are open to new things but want to retain their individual style. Our fashion is fun,” Pakphum added. “It’s okay if you want to mix this new season’s items with the old one. We want our designs to be timeless.”
Nat Mangkang of Kloset brand was full of praise for this young group of designers. “I’m kind of fulfilled and feel energetic every time I see the shows of
BOB. I felt they are really clever both in term of creativity, styling, and business. Every item can be worn together or on its own,” he said admiringly.
Nine other impressive shows were stage managed by “One Siam”, as the alliance of world class shopping centres Siam Paragon, Siam Center and Siam Discovery, is known, over the four-day event.
Parc Paragon was transformed into a lavish grand runway, featuring 14 top-notch Thai and internationally acclaimed labels taking part in the “We wear Thai Designer” campaign, which emphasised identity, creativity and quality. The shows kicked off with the first collaboration by Self Portrait and Vatanika. Self Portrait is a globally acclaimed UK-based label by Malaysian designer Han Chong who sent over his latest London Fashion Week 2019 collection, and prominent Thai brand Vatanika.
Self Portrait and Vatanika
Self-Portrait, a line that exudes ultra-femininity in a gentle, sophisticated and naturally sexy manner, offered a collection inspired by women in the 60s. His signature lace was accompanied by geometric and floral prints, giving it a fresh new take. Vatanika, meanwhile, brought a mixture of denim, lace and the classic checks used in men’s tailoring to create her signature chic look. The colour palette was basic black, white and grey with a dash of daring red.
Issue by Pupavis Kritpolnara presented “The Day” collection, playing with colours that radiated a joyous spirit, liveliness and playfulness. Native art was distorted to pave the way for something new. Hand-embroidered beads and sequins were incorporated in the prints, conveying the message “Yesterday was the past, tomorrow is still away, today – The Day is the most priceless of all.”
Ending the second day was the eclectic Friday27Nov with its “World of Friday” collection featuring handcrafted streetwear for young fashionistas. The collection came in a mixture of materials and colours, without any key hues or elements.
The third day started with “Sor-Gor-Bor Warship” by designer Prapakas Angsusingha. His fashion show had the name “Sup-Pa-Rang-Kay” meaning “sloppy” and it was very different from the designer’s usual feminine style. Especially designed for BIFW2019 using interesting materials, the silhouette was deliberately loose and uncomplicated.
Siam Center stuck to its Absolute Siam theme showing the collections of iCONiC, Six PM. and WonderAnatomie. Day 3 ended with the gorgeous “Front Row” collection from Milin, which asserted femininity and sexiness in a minimal approach. Sophisticated mesh, delicate lace, embellished sequinned fabric, tulle and luxurious fur created alluring textures and volumes that complemented each body movement.
The last day saw shows by iconic fashion houses including Nagara by legendary designer Nagara Sambandaraksa. For his “The Floating World” show, the signature prints draw inspiration from two prominent Japanese artists Katsushika Hokusai, an Edo woodblock printmaker.
and Kansai Yamamoto, the founding father of contemporary Japanese fashion who flourished during 1980. Pop art from 1970-1980 was another key inspiration.
That show was followed by the all-time classic label Pichita by Pichitra Boonyarataphan, who to continues to uphold her family’s legacy. She has now been joined by her two daughters, Tatim and Teema Rucksajit, who bring freshness, passion and business acumen to Atelier Pichita. The new collection dubbed “The Golden Hour” brought mosaic, patchwork and classical touches to designs in a combination of materials, forms and designs, making each print a story in itself. The silhouettes tweaked and played with the 1950s..
BIFW 2019 closed out with a dramatic show from Tube Gallery, as designers Phisit Jongnarangsin and Saksit Pisalasupongs celebrated the label’s 20th anniversary by bringing their favourite models to the catwalk.