Designer Vatanika Patamasingh na Ayudhya brings her outfits and her career to reality TV
Reality TV comes in many shapes and sizes with contestants queuing up to show their talents, real or imagined, in such areas as music, dance, modelling and even fashion design.
Vatanika “Prae” Patamasingh na Ayudhya, owner and designer of the Vatanika label, is taking a slightly different tack with her newly launched YouTube channel, which offers a fascinating insight into her lifestyle.
“This is Me Vatanika” offers fun fashion and beauty tips, personal visits with her and her friends and the occasional celebrity. The sexy fashion icon has hundreds of thousands of followers on Facebook and Instagram, but the YouTube channel is a new addition, having only debuted a few weeks ago.
A new episode will be uploaded every Friday at 6.49pm, and the series is set to run for 10 episodes.
She guarantees that every episode is packed with fun stories, from the behind-the-scenes lives of designers to interesting angles on life; the process of fashion design and its funny sides, along with romance, celebrities and more.
She recently took time out from her busy schedule for a chat with The Nation.
WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO CREATE |A REALITY SHOW?
The idea first came up when I was talking to my sister and as we chatted, I realised it would just be so much fun. Then I told my company about it. These days we tend to learn about new fashion and trends through social media so we felt if would be nice to do something different from an advertising campaign. We wanted to make it real after hearing comments from customers like “I wouldn’t dare buy your clothes they look as though they have been made for models. They are just too perfect. So we came up with this idea to wear our designs and present Vatanika outfits on real people rather than models.
WHO IS VATANIKA?
To me, Vatanika is a normal girl who works hard and tries to blend in with this crazy world.
IS THE REAL YOU SEXIER THAN YOUR APPEARANCE?
Vatanika: No. I’m a fat kid at heart. I’m not a sexy girl at all. Somehow the brand and my designs lead me to that “sexiness” that people put on me but I’m not.
HOW LONG DID YOU LIVE IN UK? AND HOW HAS IT INFLUENCED YOUR LIFESTYLE?
I lived there for eight years and I’ve freaked out a little when I came back here! My mother sent me away when I was 18. I lived alone and when you study abroad, you are pretty much on your own. It took quite a while to adjust to living in Bangkok and blend in. I still miss that privacy; the safe zone of mine. But you can’t really have that when you do are doing this job.
A scene from “This is Me Vatanika” showing the designer in disguise as she checks for fake copies of her outfits on the market.
IS CONNECTING BETTER WITH YOUR FANS WHY YOU WANTED TO DO A REALITY SHOW?
It’s certainly one of the reasons. Portraying our clothes on real girls is obviously the main goal. We want to make people believe that you can wear anything and you can feel confident and beautiful. You don’t have to have long legs. You don’t need to have a perfect body. But you can be confident and love who you really are.
HOW INVOLVED ARE YOU IN THE PRODUCTION ASPECTS OF THIS PROJECT?
I’m pretty much involved with everything. Most of the reality show is semi-scripted. So all the content is about fashion. It’s not about me. I hope to inspire girls who want to become designers or just want more self-confidence. So that what I’m trying to portray in the show.
HOW DOES THE SHOW AFFECT YOUR BRAND?
It’s turning out very well. We brainstormed on the ways we could turn the fashion house into a reality show. It’s another way of promoting the brand instead of showing myself.
As a brand we’ve never compared ourselves to anybody. That’s the core to success. We just try to improve and be better. I love reality TV and I’ve taken some of the techniques they use in terms of showing how some angles do more justice to the clothes than others. But my show is different: it is neither a look book, nor a fashion show nor an ad campaign. It’s my first time doing such a show so it’s quite difficult to get my messages across.
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT “SA JA …”, WHICH IS HOW YOU CALL YOUR MAID, BECOMING MORE CATCHY THAN VATANIKA?
I was very surprised. I had an idea that the house and the stuff in it would draw attention. I certainly didn’t expect “Saja” to become a main topic. It’s the way my parents taught me to call someone close to you, like your nanny, your driver. You have to be genuine and gentle towards then, When I met Sa, I felt really good with her. She has all the attributes I love, so I asked her to work with me. She has been with me almost five years. Now everyone is saying she’s the star, not me at all. She’s quite happy though. (laughs)
WHAT IS THE MOST FREQUENT QUESTION YOU’VE BEEN ASKED?
Most of my customers ask me for some tips to wear my clothes, such as which bra to wear with a certain dress or what best suits their body type. I enjoy it, I like to please my customers.
IN THE SHOW, WE HAVE SEEN SOME FUNNY SIDES OF YOU. WHAT IS IT WITH THE EYEBROWS?
I don’t have the eyebrows! I plucked them too much when I was young. So I always draw my eyebrows every time, even when I go to bed, have a shower or go to swim. For the show, my sister and my team kind of forced me to leave them off.
CAN YOU REVEAL ANYTHING ABOUT THE NEXT EPISODE? WILL YOU HAVE CELEBRITY GUESTS?
We have some plans but can’t promote it because nothing is really fixed. We are not sure because we want it to be real although some people think it is a set up. I’m in the fashion house business, I want my clothes to look perfect. I cannot have just one camera going round. If you film my door, even that has to look good. But sometimes when it looks too good, people don’t think it’s real.
WHAT HAS THE FEEDBACK BEEN LIKE?
Vatanika: I’m not going to lie; everybody wants to get good feedback. But after the first week, I began to love all the comments, even the critical ones. It’s funny. If you don’t take criticism seriously you can learn a lot. You can pick something and improve even more. If you look at it in a positive way, it won’t harm you.
DID YOU DREAM OF BECOMING A DESIGNER?
No. I wanted to be a sculptor but my mother was against it. She wanted me to have a proper career. I took the foundation course to do all types of arts at Central St. Martin and then I graduated in womenswear and product design (leathergoods) from the London College of Fashion. When I first launched the brand, the bag collection was the main product and the ready-to-wear the capsule. The clothes sold out quickly.
WHAT IS THE CHARACTER OF THE VATANIKA WOMAN?
Confident, sophisticated and independent, that would be my lady. When she feel beautiful and confident and smiles from the inside, then I have achieved my goal. I think that is every designer’s goal.
IN ONE OF THE EPISODES, WE SAW YOU GOING ROUND THE MARKETS TO SEE SOME OUTFITS THAT HAD BEEN COPIED FROM YOUR DESIGNS. WHAT ARE THE QUALITIES OF THE BRAND THAT SIMPLY CANNOT BE COPIED?
I think it is the quality of material we use, the pattern, the cutting, the design. I mean you can dress in fake Vatanika dresses but you won’t feel the same, that I can guarantee you.
At work with the tailoring team
WHAT IS THE FUTURE DIRECTION OF THE BRAND?
We are now focusing on the online store because that’s the future. We will also collaborate with a watch brand.
PLEASE TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT THE AUTUMN AND WINTER 2018 COLLECTION.
We haven’t done prints in years. This collection will have a signature print and we will focus on a feminist angle to create something that empowers women. We’ll have suits, trouser suits, dresses – a killer dress that makes you feel you are the most gorgeous girl in the world. At Vatanika, we like to mix masculine with feminine such as for the striped print for which I was inspired by the suit my grandfather wore when he was young. I try to match it with a very feminine look like French lace and it’s turned out quite amazing.
WHAT’S IN STORE
- The Vatanika autumn and winter 2018 collection will be shown at Elle Fashion Week this Saturday at 7pm at CentralWorld.
- The live broadcast can be watched online through the Elle Magazine website.