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Bangkok Fashion Society gets ready to conquer Asean with a new website and banner campaign

With the Asean Economic Community only slightly more than two years away, the 16 members of Bangkok Fashion Society (BFS) are well aware that they need to take measures now if they are to meet their goals of being Asia's trendsetters.

Molika Ruengkrittiya, chairperson of the BFS and creative director of Kloset, says the society has already made plans to conquer Asean.

The end of the this month will see the launch of a new website, www.ThaiFashionDesigner.com in collaboration with the Tourism Authority of Thailand. This aims to raise brand awareness, to provide in depth information about the fashion design industry in Thailand and to promote the industry's perception as creative design rather than merely manufacturing base.

"This marks the first time that leading Thai brands come together at one click. Normally each brand has an individual website," Molika says. "The popularity of Thai fashion design is very good both locally and internationally especially amongst the Hollywood superstars. I think this is a good start and will help make us the leader in the AEC."

Thapanee Kiatphaibool, director and marketing information technology office of the TAT, says banner campaigns are being planned in 30 languages. "The Thai fashion design industry is one of the main ingredients to attract tourists. We have about 300,000 fans of the Amazing Thailand Fan Page in social media and about 100 million views of our website so far this year. In 2015, the government is aiming to raise revenues from the travel industry up to Bt2 trillion. Related industries like fashion design will help boost Thailand as a travel destination," she says.

Bhanu Inkawat, chief creative director of Greyhound and former BFS chair, concurs that Thai fashion has high potential, particularly compared to its neighbouring countries. "But we still need to improve and start thinking more like businesspeople and strategists not just as designers," he says "My concern is that cheaper products will pour into the market."

Polpat Asavaprapha of Asava says the input from government is very important. "The fashion industry it is not all about design. We have to deal with many suppliers and many of them are small and medium enterprises. I'm sure lots of them do not know how they'll be affected by the AEC. The overall production process of fashion products must be strengthened."

Munchumas Numbenchapol of Munchu's says she's preparing for the AEC but isn't looking to the export market. "I'd rather welcome shoppers from members' countries here in Thailand. I might improve sizing and train my employees in language skills and of course, the positioning of my creative design must be distinguished."

Protecting against piracy will become even more vital with the open door policy of the AEC, Pajchima Tanasanti, director general of the Department of intellectual Property, points out. "In order to protect their creative works, Thai designers and fashion companies must copyright their sketches," she says.

The bold and the beautiful

Bangkok Fashion Society's 16 members - Asava, Curated by Ek Thongprasert, Disaya, Greyhound, Issue, Kloset, Milin, Munchu's, Painkiller, Playhound, Sanshai, Senada, Theatre, Tu'i, Tutti and Tutti Fruiti and Vickteerut - revealed their autumn-winter 2012 at The Conrad Bangkok last week, with looks and styles loosely categorised into three key trends.

Milin, Asava, Issue, Sanshai, Disaya and Vickteerut focused on the "Super Human" look, tailoring cutting dresses, tops and skirts to suit the kind of perfect bodies we see in fantasy animations but rarely in real life.

Milin's "Material Girl, Material World" collection explored the lifestyle of the fun-loving girl who likes to take superficiality to the extreme. Solid silhouettes reflected a modern and geometric edge with dresses bolder, sexier and more structured."

Asava's confident woman enjoys a multi-dimensional life and wears a sexy bustier dress with strings that surround the neck and chest area, or perhaps a tunic with a distinct peplum waistline and a pleated skirt to party. The bodice blouse accentuated with net fabric at the neck blends beautifully with cigarette trousers.

Asava, Issue, Playhound, Senada, Painkiller, Munchu's, Kloset, Tuitti and Fruitti, Tu'i, and Greyhound went "Retro", reinterpreting styles of the past with looks that were sporty, minimal and harking back to specific periods.

Munchu's Spy's Eyes collection was inspired by Sherlock Holmes and featured a 50's style dress with a full skirt but with a cut that achieved a thoroughly modern look. A sleeveless tuxedo and a cropped tux shirt create a masculine yet very sexy look.

Sanshai by Jirat Subpisankul opted for the "Modest" look with understated long dresses that emphasised the technique of layering and luxurious colours.

Vickteerut's new collection "Simple Statement" also accented tailoring, with designer Teerut Wongwattanasin rediscovering the happiness of his last New Year holiday surrounded by gifts and bringing the ribbon and wrapping technique to his clothes.

Overall, the new silhouettes are micro and mini, with cropped tops worn with pants and shorts and retro outfits popular for both day and evening wear. New detail includes binding and border, slit and open back, deep V neck, pleats and drapes, fur, lace, mesh, beads, peplum and metallic trimming. Clutches and tiny shoulder bags dominate.


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