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Thai Designers Show Their Mettle as Asean Diamonds at BIFF&BIL

Thai designers, both veteran and up-and-coming, are putting all their efforts into their presentations for the Bangkok International Fashion Fair U Bangkok International Leather Fair 2008 (BIFF&BIL 2008) which is being organized by the Department of Export Promotion, Ministry of Commerce, from August 27-31, 2008 at BITEC Bangna.

The event is expected to showcase the potential of Thailand's fashion industry and design creativity. Not only will the leading fashion and leatherwear designers and manufacturers, as well as all fashion-related knowledge centres be represented, one of the highlights of the fair will be a fashion presentation during from Thailand's best designers, both the stalwarts of the industry as well as the new wave designers who will flair their latest collections' fantasy on fashion runways from 27-29 August 2008.

The "Super Designers" comprise some of the biggest names in the Thai fashion industry including Somchai Kawthong, members of the Bangkok Fashion Society (BFS) and other leading labels Kloset, Sretsis, Senada*, Greyhound, Munchu's and Disaya.

KAI : Somchai Kawtong, the owner of Kai Boutique, has been at the forefront of the country's fashion circle as the pioneer of haute couture as well as catwalk presentations for 39 years. Of his upcoming collection, he said, "Each outfit in the collection places great emphasis on individuality and craftsmanship, from the cocktail dresses, evening gowns to the wedding gown. The cocktail dresses and evening gowns have been inspired by the economic slump, the increased living expenses, as well as global warming. The gowns therefore stress simplicity and elegance, comfort and easy maintenance. Natural fabrics form the base of the outfits, enhanced with meticulous hand-worked details, for use in real life, not fantasy."

Bhanu Inkawat, president of Bangkok Fashion Society, said of the group's participation at the fair: "Each brand is going to try and enhance its brand identity, as well as stress production quality. Each brand member of BFS has its own specific target group, with the individual style of the brand being the deciding factor for buyers. The style also dictates other strategies and directions for not only the target buyers, but also the kind of stores, pricing, and brand image. Sretsis, for example, suits New York and Australia. It targets the young, streetwise girls, with a strong tropical streak. Senada*, on the other hand, suits the Japanese or European market. The clothes are finely tailored for the discerning woman. Disaya is for the Middle Eastern and European market, with styles that are more inventive, enhanced by accessories for greater impetus. Greyhound targets the US and Asian markets, with emphasis on simplicity and minimalism combined with artistic elements."

The Next group comprises new wave designers with their own labels who have been in the market for over 8 years, such as T-ra, AB-Normal, Olanor and Gavang.

T-ra Chantasawasdee, owner of T-ra brand, has several awards knotched on his belt, both from local and international competitions. He led the Rabbit Habit brand to success in Europe and Asia, and then created T-ra to reflect his own identity. He has his own unique style that plays with the draping technique, and combines the form of haute couture with the ready-to-wear style, resulting in refined outfits in the unique avant-garde look that can be worn in every day life. This new collection follows on from the previous collection that played with geometric forms, bringing a new dimension to ready-to-wear fashions. The monochrome colour scheme leans towards white, black, grey and navy blue.

Thaweesak Samanmit build up AB-Normal from a small shop in Siam Square to a major brand known by all Thai fashionistas. The unique identity of AB-Normal is its chic and colourful elegance, and its use of quality materials at suitable prices. "This collection presents casual clothes in mix and match style. The outstanding detail is the use of seams inspired by beams of sunlight through modern window blinds."

Siri-orn and Poomsak Teankaprasith, founders of Painkiller, grew from a love of fashion and a background of menswear design studies from France. Painkiller targets executives age 25 up who have a preference for classic rather than trendy looks. "This collection stresses modern minimalism, with special details in the invisible contour that was inspired by 'The Snail' by Henri Matisse. Materials used play up colours against stripes."

Nattanun Sanpong, the owner of Nattanun brand, a small accessories and handbag brand that has been proving itself in local and international markets for over 4 years now. After graduating with a degree in photography, Nattanun decided to follow her own passion, and created a fashion brand under her own name. She is inspired by everything around her, and her latest collection has been inspired by Picasso and the cubism art style, combining craftsmanship with leather work and other materials to create her work.

In addition, there will be fashion shows in the street wear style by the Bobae Market group, Siam Square group, Chatuchak group, as well as resort wear to add colour to the event.

As the creative producer and fashion show organizer for the event, Sombatsara Teerasaroch, or Tue, remarked, "We have selected the highlights of each brand to present so that the buyers will be aware of the design potential of the Thai fashion industry. Today, Thai manufacturers stress quality in production, as well as modern, stylish looks. We are well on par with international brands. That gives us the confidence to step into the international arena, and a clear goal with which to market the products."

The fashion presentations are divided into different groups, from the Super Designers comprising Thailand's leading brands like Kai, Greyhound and Senada; the Next group that has received support from the Department of Export Promotion such as the street wear manufacturers including Bobae Market group, Siam Square group, Chatuchak group. As for the Design Circle, this is another unit comprising those in fashion-related fields such as silk screen artists and graphic artists.



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