Step into Rotsaniyom for a moment, in fact just take a peek through the window, and you may never want to leave. More than likely you’ll be lured in by some indefinable otherworldly something , wander in and completely forget the rest of your day.
Rotsaniyom. It’s a design company in Bangkok. It’s a Thai phrase that means personal taste. Most of all, it’s one of my favorite stores, well, just about anywhere; maybe one of my favorite places. It could even be a way of life.
Even better, this style destination has substance, perhaps bite. How thrilling to discover that behind the beautiful ruffles and lace, the whimsical objets and dozens of must-have items around the store, lies a keenly discerning taste and an even more acute intellect, with an electrifying take on Thai and Western society, politics, art and even democracy. I felt I had stepped into the mind of a deep philosopher, who just happened to make the most beautiful clothes.
My kind of place, definitely, and with the social unrest in Thailand today, the message of Rotsaniyom is passionately relevant. So, not your mom’s clothes designer then. Prepare to have your notions of Asian culture shaken up.
Not your mom’s clothes designer then. Prepare to have your notions of Asian culture shaken up
“Fashion is not clothing but a frame upon which I will make Art.”
Rotsaniyom’s designer, OF, (Pongsak Kobrattanasuk) originally a product designer, making furniture amongst other things, has been designing clothes for five years and designs events and exhibitions, as is apparent from the sense of display in the store. He works with his wife, Gift (Thita Kamonnetsawat). Graduates of two of Thailand’s top art institutions, in OF’s case, Srinakharinwirot University, and Gift’s, Silpakorn University, together they make a brilliantly creative team, creating not just clothes, but pieces of art to wear, and cosseting their customers in the kind of environment normally only found Behind the Wardrobe.
The kind of environment normally only found Behind the Wardrobe.
The couple began selling clothes at Chatuchak market and now work out of this magical space in Phra Nakorn. A new store in Bangkok’s trendy Siam Square is now in the works, ready in March. Can’t wait. They do sell online, but prefer the customer to come and experience the atmosphere of the store. Easy to see why. The couple say “Our customers love all that we do and love the same things as us, and we appeal to many different age groups”.
OF takes a position as an artist more than a fashion designer and wants to present their taste more than their clothing. “People might just buy one piece, maybe just a notebook.” Each item in the studio-cum-store is carefully detailed and lovingly presented on little cards, down to the vintage sunglasses, butterflies and heaps of goodies piled in baskets on the floor, counter, crammed in corners everywhere. Equal parts vintage store, flea market and glamorous designer atelier, it surely brings out the magpie in all who enter.
It surely brings out the magpie in all who enter.
For inspiration they take tradition and Thai culture and, as they live in Bangkok, social and political problems. Backstreet graffiti and social networking inspire the collection, also comments on “liberty and life”, two terms which they consider are used too often. “People post about everything. Graffitti is a signature for commenting on society.”
Rotsaniyom use lace for every collection.
OF wants to show that social commentary on their democracy is used too much and that as a society they go too far, reflecting on their country in too negative a way. “We can say too much: it doesn’t help society.”
OF says, “I began to make fashion because Gift liked fashion. So I had to change my thinking. Fashion is not clothing but a frame upon which I will make Art. She knows every designer in the world but I myself don’t know any”. When I asked GIFT her favorite designer, she told me: “I love all designers but I don’t focus on one because I don’t want to influence him”.
I began to make fashion because Gift liked fashion. So I had to change my thinking.
Rotsaniyom: It could be a way of life.
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