Three young Thai designers join the Amazon Fashion Week Tokyo for some hands-on experience and to showcase their collections
AFTER a gruelling competition, the three designers who came top in the third edition of the Department of Industrial Promotion’s Thai Touch contest headed to Japan recently to take part in the Amazon Fashion Week Tokyo.
The annual competition, which is supported by Siam Paragon, aims to elevate the Thai fashion industry and also promote the knowledge and experience of young Thai fashion designers to an international audience.
This year’s winners were Jirawat Thamrongkittikul, owner of the Jirawat brand, Titat Kuantrakul of the Titat brand and Thakorn Wannawong of the Takara Wong brand. During the four-day trip that truly broadened their horizons, each designer took part in various activities, learned the process of creating a fashion show and met with Japanese textile producers.
Jirawat, who blended cross-stitch with new materials for his Spring and Summer 2018 collection, talked about his experience on an international stage, saying: “At first, I thought it would be just a fashion show. In fact, I gained more experience than that because during the four days, I got to learn behind-the-scenes work, such as backstage management and lighting. It was a very valuable experience. The team also took us to see textile producers who are suppliers of major brands and look at their showrooms, which aren’t easily accessed by ordinary people.”
Jirawat also benefited from guidance from Vogue Italy’s senior editor, who came to see the fitting at the studio, and the interest from Japanese and international media, resulting in a bigger number of brand followers. He said he was intending to use the acquired knowledge and experience to develop the quality of his work and further grow his brand.
Titat presented his Rite collection, which highlights Thai cultural roots and mixes Thai textiles with innovative materials such as synthetic fibres, linen, paper fibres, leatherette, pigskin, sheepskin and suede.
“Having a fashion show in Tokyo allowed me to see how senior designers work and really spurred me on my journey as a fashion designer. The training was very intensive because I could observe an integrated management system, from material sourcing to working with buyers. I now understand that the buying system in Japan is different from Thailand. There, they don’t show one brand on one rack, but brands are mixed together and we see how customers mix and match our clothes,” he said.
Feedback from the media and buyers suggested that he should keep the brand character and not expect too much from the first collection as journalists and buyers need to see more collections from him. However, Titat has been approached to participate in a trade show in Japan in March next year, which he expects to lead to further progress. For the time being, he is improving the quality of his clothes and adding more designs.
Thakorn presented the Wong 2018 collection that features styling gimmicks such as clear plastic pockets and different materials including plastic, patent, PVC, nylon and cotton denim, which are mixed with cotton.
The designer said, “I’ve received pretty good feedback as my brand has an international look to it. After the show, many media outlets from several countries shared photos of my clothes and tagged my brand. So, I felt I was successful in brand recognition. What I’m now working on is how to grow my business. Japan is an interesting market for my brand, which is streetwear. But I have to work on the fabrics and quality because the fabrics I’ve used are probably too light for the Japanese market.”
Thakorn also added that by being part of this project he got to see another world and exchange ideas with several companies. For example, he visited a fabric factory and a fashion marketing company and met with buyers, which gave him insight into the Japanese market and what Japanese wear or do not wear.
The Thai Designers Development Project Season 3, or the Thai Touch Season 3, is a collaborative project with a mission is to provide 360-degree support to the Thai fashion industry and create sustainable business growth for Thai fashion both in Thailand and abroad. This year the three winners of the project got to unveil their Spring/Summer 2018 collections at the Amazon Fashion Week Tokyo at the Hikarie Hall.
Thai designers Polpat Asava-prapha, President of Bangkok Fashion Society and founder of Asava and ASV brands, Pupawit Kritpolnara, designer of Issue, and Thanawut Thanasarnvimon, designer of T & T, participated in coaching the young designers.
For more details and updates on the Thai Touch Season 3 and the works of the three winning designers, visit www.ThaiTouchProject.com.