(From the Nation)
By Pattarawadee Saengmanee
The websites Wear It Like A Man and Wardrobe Ministry have gathered enough momentum to turn their founders into style sharpers.
A HOBBY, an idea, a passion, a trip abroad, a Web page and soon enough you’re designing your own clothes for the shops. Two very different sets of people nudge their way into Bangkok’s style consciousness.
WEAR IT LIKE A MAN
ATTEMPTING to unchain the masses they consider slaves to fashion, Piyasil Kalayanakoul and Kulatuch Sawattanapunkul have built up a new styling community through their blog Wear It Like a Man, where fans of vintage and minimalist Japanese clothes – and a few truly outrageous get-ups – are busy comparing outfits.
The two engineers, both 25, discovered their mutual love of avant-garde threads while studying at Chulalongkorn University. Spending as much time poring through fashion magazines as they did on their textbooks, they went for the sort of clothing that’s basically un-wearable in daily life – but down that road is utter freedom.
Their idea is to help men find a personal style, no matter how conservative or extreme. Their blog – and their three-year-old Facebook page with more than 10,000 followers – offer tips on mixing and matching apparel and colours and reviews of what’s new in the shops.
“It all comes down to taste,” says Piyasil. “There are all sorts of ways to reflect your character through you choice of clothing. But we make the distinction between ‘trends’, which change with every season, and ‘style’, which means dressing in outfits that fit your figure, your lifestyle and the occasion. That’s the key to being a good-looking man.”
Interestingly, the two pals have completely different approaches in the way they dress. Piyasil goes for the classic look with button-down oxford shirts and neat slacks, while Kulatuch prefers street clothes like denim shirts, shorts and sneakers. In both cases, though, the way they combine elements is impeccable.
Each man writes a column for the blog. Kulatuch shares his love of Japanese fashion in stories about the places to see, dine and shop in Tokyo and other locales, fully illustrated with lovely photos.
Kurume, for example, is a town famous for its tonkotsu ramen, handicrafts – and the sneakers made there for the brands Moonstar, Converse, Doek and Shoes Like Pottery. Then it’s off to Kojima, where denim is famously manufactured for Momotaro, Pure Blue Japan and Fullcount and there’s a Denim Street and the Betty Smith Jeans Museum.
“I worked in Yokohama for three years,” Kulatuch says, “and saw how the Japanese dress in their own style, everyone unique. It was fascinating. I try to do the same, but with an easy and simple look, just a shirt and shorts with my New Balance sneakers.”
Piyasil’s column is called “Look” and covers the latest Bangkok trends and advises newcomers. He’s something of an expert when it comes to matching clothing elements and accessories and usually recommends “safe” shades like grey, black, navy blue, beige and brown. But he always stresses that there are no fixed rules when it comes to colour.
“You should pay attention to good fit, materials and patterns,” he says. “Every detail is important. And on our blog we try to focus on quality Japanese and Thai brands that anyone can afford.”
The duo recently invested some money into publishing in an English-language edition of the book “Tokyo Shop”, which visits 70 boutiques and cafes in the Japanese capital. One spot they recommend is a concept store called the Pool Aoyama, where the fitting rooms occupy a former swimming pool. You can get cool T-shirts with pockets, pullover sweatshirts and canvas totes there. Another place is called Safari, renowned for its vintage merchandise, including second-hand garments from Ralph Laurent, Brooks Brothers and Black Fleece.
“We spent a few months roaming around Tokyo gathering the information and taking pictures,” says Kulatuch. “Every store in the book is unique in its own way, whether in the concept, the interior design or the products.” Read more