Musical T-shirts top the charts
Recording artists extend their creativity to designing cool merchandise
You'd think our pop stars would have enough to do toiling over catchy new tunes, but no, some of them are designing and selling shirts, shopping bags and other stuff on the side. It's not like they need the extra cash, but they do realise that it's another way to hook up with fans.
The Love Is record label last month launched Love Is Products with a "portal" page on Facebook, featuring loads of goodies alongside its latest albums. The duo Lipta is flogging screened T-shirts and the band P.O.P has canvas shopping bags in three designs.
"Some of our artists have been creating products to sell on Facebook and at music events for years," says Love Is co-founder Cheewin "Boyd" Kosiyabong. "I noticed they were getting great feedback, so Nop Pornchamni from P.O.P and I started a new page on Facebook where we gather all of our stuff - both albums and products. "We don't expect to reap more profit - it just gets the fans more involved, and we want to keep our fan clubs strong."
Singer-songwriter Apiwat "Stamp" Ueathavornsuk offers simple but cool screened T-shirts, boxing shorts and handbags for both men and women. They reflect his character and link to his tunes. The cotton shirts bear his name or lyrics with cartoons inspired by hit singles like "Kwam Kid" and "Chai Klang". The price ranges from Bt300 to Bt650.
"Lots of overseas artists have created merchandise and their fans are happy to support them," says Stamp. "I think it's really cool. I started making T-shirts to sell at the Fat T-shirt Festival six years ago. I just really enjoyed doing it and never even thought about making money.
"I kept it simple - just screened on my name and some words from my songs and sold them for Bt150 or Bt200 - but I was amazed how much people loved them. It's like another way to meet and 'chat with' my fans. And it's terrific seeing people wearing my shirts."
Stamp's been so busy making "stuff" that you wonder if he has time to rehearse. He's just finished another T-shirt to promote his first full-scale concert coming up in March and is collaborating with BEC Tero on an edition of vinyl records.
"I'm also creating a collection of guitar picks engraved with my logo that will be produced in England. They won't be for sale, though - I'll just hand them out as souvenirs."
Over at the Smallroom label, meanwhile, veteran singer-songwriter and sometime-photographer Apichai "Lek" Tragoolpadetgrai is using the moniker Greasy Cafe when he creates black and white scarves, postcards, books and "voice diaries".
The Panoramic voice diary grew out of his habit of keeping a daily journal while working as a photographer on film sets. Apichai jotted down everything he did and discovered and his co-workers were impressed.
"Panoramic isn't a regular diary," he says. "I've included a CD with seven new melodies I wrote.
"I'm a composer and singer and I don't want to be a merchant. It's not my way. I don't want to earn more money. I'm just designing these products for fun. I sell them on Facebook and people are very receptive, and in the meantime I'm reaching a new generation of music fans."
Apichai's goods also made their debut at the Fat T-shirt Festival, last year when he unveiled a series of white tees with a drawn motif, sold with a poster and CD at a low price.
"My designs relate to my songs or to people's relationships," he says. "And my book 'The Destination from Nowhere' is a collection of my ides and some poetry that I aimed to turn into lyrics."
And the scarves carry a stirring message for lovers who've separated - "Let's find the hidden land we've lost".
<< Get the Love Is gear at the "LoveIs Product Portal" on Facebook.
<< Find Apichai's creations on the Greasy Cafe Facebook page.
<< Get Stamp'stuff at "Ikukuforu" on Facebook.
Tell folks what you saw
Well, if it's up-to-the-minute trendy T-shirts you want, don't forget to grab one touting the latest movies from cinema studio GTH.
Last June the studio opened its first retail shop, in Phetchaburi's Santorini Park, selling shirts and accessories linked to some of its top releases, like "SuckSeed", "Fan Chan", "Season Change", "Seven Something", "Dear Galileo" and "Countdown".
"We've produced plenty of great limited-edition products to promote the films that we hand out or sell at public events," says senior merchandising manager Pheechanuch Hukharn.
"They're always very popular with fans, especially the T-shirts with the film titles, so we decided to develop better designs and opened the GTH Store online, and that's what's now become an actual store in Santorini Park, which gets a lot of tourists.
"This isn't about boosting profits. We just want to create fashionable items that make great souvenirs and are even worth collecting."
Teenagers will enjoy the slick designs and families will appreciate the quality among the handkerchiefs, tote bags and shirts in various vivid shades. Point your kids at the playful "SuckSeed" slippers and watch their reaction. There's a "Fan Chan" multiple-purpose bag that resembles a student's backpack and colourful key rings depicting the characters from "Countdown" and even the stage play "Lam Sing Singer".
"We are quite concerned about the quality," says Pheechanuch. "We use the best cotton to ensure comfort. We want to offer innovative products that are reasonably priced and worth hanging onto."
Up next is a line of white T-shirts with prints for the new movie "Phi Mak".
SEEN IT, WEAR IT
<< Some of the products sold at the GTH Store outlet in Santorini Park in Phetchaburi's Cha-Am district are also available in Chiang Mai at Khunnai Teunsai on Nimmahemin Soi 11 and Fly Me to the Moon on Sanambin Kao Soi 6.
<< The easiest access is online, though, at www.GTHStore.com.
<< Find out more at (02) 259 2757.