The new Artisans' Royal Club has everything and more for the modern man around town
GONE ARE the days when husbands and boyfriends were forced to hang around for hours while their women were pampered at the beauty salon. Now it’s the guys who are keeping their ladies waiting as they take full advantage of the bespoke services offered by newly opened Artisans’ Royal Club at Gaysorn Village in downtown Bangkok.
Metrosexuality, that much-touted trend of the ’90s, is not only alive but positively thriving in Bangkok as an increasing number of men take personal grooming to another level.
“The Artisans’ Royal Club is akin to a gentleman’s club offering a complete experience for males with superlative tastes. It offers diverse bespoke services under the same roof from the gents-only barbershop Truefitt & Hill, the made-to-measure shoe shop Mango Mojito, the tailor-made suit shop Notch to the customised denim store Selvedgework, and the whisky bar-cum-cigar lounge Duke,” says Jirarot Pojanavaraphan, co-founder of shoe maker Mango Mojito.
Mango Mojito offers a range of classic custom-made leather shoes.
“Men used to shy away from paying Bt1,000 for a haircut. Today, they have no problem shelling out bundles of cash to look smart,” adds Bundit Sriwattanangkoon who operates the British barbershop chain Truefitt & Hill at Gaysorn and bespoke tailoring brand Notch.
When Jirarot introduced his customised shoe brand Mango Mojita to the market eight years ago, well-groomed men were already ready to pay more than Bt5,000 for a pair of shoes, albeit those bearing a premium international label. Today, the made-in-Thailand brand is well accepted for its meticulously hand-made, classic-style, customsied shoes.
“It takes time to communicate to customers that we’re a premium Thai leather shoe brand and our craftsmanship is on par with international brands. It took us about three years to be recognised in the market. Our customers are generally between 18 and 45 years old and consider shoes accessories that represent their characters and styles,” says Jirarot.
Prices for a pair of bespoke shoes range from Bt6,000 to Bt13,000 a pair depending on the leather. Customers can choose from Oxfords, loafers or boat shoes, select the leather and customise the colours for different part of the shoes from vamp, body, outsole to laces and stripes.
“All parts are hand-made using premium leathers from Italy and Japan and hand-painted with special colourings to make each pair unique. Though our shoe mould is imported from Italy, we have adjusted its proportions to match the general foot shape of Thais whose foot width is generally in the shoe size of 4E (extra wide) while Europeans are about 3E (wide),” Jirarot adds.
Far from being about the traditional “short back and sides”, Truefitt & Hill styles the hair, trims the beard, cleans the ears or just lets the customer relax with a facial treatment under a hot towel while hands and feet are thoroughly pampered.
Men are precision-groomed from head to toenails at the British barbershop chain Truefitt & Hill.
The world’s oldest barbershop, the original Truefitt & Hill opened on London’s St James’s Street in 1805. The Gaysorn outlet’s floor plan is circular and customers move through five grooming stations, each with its own upholstered, reclining swivel chair and adjustable headrest.
“Customers tend to have their hair done in classic cuts rather than fashionably styled for a true gentleman’s look,” says Bundit. “Truefitt & Hill exudes English style, luxury and comfort and thus meets the needs of discerning customers. When our hair is neat, we want to look good from head to toe.”
The barbershop offers a broad ranges of services from haircut with shampoo and blowdry (Bt1,100), bread trim (Bt500), hot towel wet shave (Bt1,000), pedicure (Bt1,100), ears cleaning (Bt600) and shoe shine (Bt550).
Bundit’s family has run a tailoring business for more than five decades, cutting suits for many tailor shops in top hotels, and he decided to open his own custom-tailored brand Notch after the British term top-notch and a kind of classic suit.
The custom-tailored suit brand Notch allows guys to choose their preferences at every step for perfect measurements.
“We have imported wools from Europe and cotton from Japan as well as lining fabrics that are soft, yet durable and light – perfect for Thailand’s climate. Customers can customise their preferences every step of the way to ensure a perfect fit,” he explains.
Prices range from Bt15,000 for cotton and Bt20,000 for wool and a styling consultant is on hand to ensure the suit matches the gentleman’s lifestyle and other items in the wardrobe.
“Several customers ask us to design complete sets of outfits for a five-day working week, from shirts, trousers, vests, and suits. The classic two-button, single-breasted suit is making a comeback thanks to its timeless look,” says Bundit.
Selvedgework offers custom, handcrafted selvedge denim jeans and jackets.
More casual though no less meticulous, Selvedgework offers custom, handcrafted selvedge denim jeans and jackets in more than 30 choices of fabrics from Japan, Italy, Thailand and the US. You tell them how you want your jeans cut – super skinny, skinny, slim, straight or regular – and your preference in thread colour, button shanks, rivets, leather patches, logo tags, pocket linings and even the font for your laser-etched initials. The prices start at Bt6,900 and production time is around one to two weeks. If you can’t wait, the shop also stocks ready-to-wear fits for both men and women with waist sizes from 25 to 42 inches.
Selvedgework is the brainchild of designer Vitchapong Hutasuwan, an avid denim collector whose family runs a denim factory. He started making his own jeans when he was in high school and had no trouble selling them to his friends.
“Craftsmanship goes into every production process. An artisan develops one pair at a time, step by step from the beginning to the end with perfection, just like a piece of art,” says Vitchapong.
Premium fabrics are hand picked to bring unique and rare selvedge fabrics woven on vintage shuttle looms. Vitchapong works with denim mills like Kaihara and Kurabo from Japan, Cone from the US, Candiani of Italy and Thailand’s AMC.
“Like a woman buying a luxury handbag, my male customers treat their personalised jeans as special accessories that speak volumes about who they are. Aged from 25 to 40, they are knowledgeable about denim fabrics and they look for value.”
Duke combines a whiskey bar, cigar lounge and art gallery.
Duke, meanwhile, combines speakeasy whiskey bar, cigar lounge and art gallery. The cigar lounge offers a full range of cigars from Cuba and other prominent producers and boasts a hand-painted wall by noted Thai artist Alongkorn Lauwattana and another two private rooms for members only. Both are decorated with works by such artists as Panya Vijinthanasarn and Alex Face.
More than 300 whiskies are available and snacks and light meals are also served. The artworks on display rotate every month.
FORMULA FOR SUCCESS
The Artisans’ Royal Club is on the second floor of Gaysorn Village at Bangkok’s Ratchaprasong intersection.
It’s open daily from 10am to 9pm. Visit “Artisans’ Royal Club” page on Facebook.
For more about Mango Mojito, go to www.Mango-mojito.com.
Selvedgework denim can be found at www.Selvedgework.com/custom
Check out Truefitt & Hill go to wwwTrueFittAndHillThailand.com.
Learn more about Duke at the “duke.gaysorn” page on Facebook.