INTERVIEW WITH THAI DESIGNER TAKARA WONG
Takara Wong is a new kid on the fashion scene based in Thailand. It only started in 2015 but is already getting noticed for its rebellious spirit and a focus on the underdogs of the society. Their current collection called “LOVE TO HATE ME”, is inspired by the lifestyle of Tokyo’s underground gang culture. Takara Wong looked at the rough, rowdy and some times violent scenes of Bosozoku, illegal night racing gangs for this SS17 collection.
How would you define Takara Wong aesthetics?
I would like to define men and women of Takara Wong as somewhat an unfinished beauty because I see beauty in flaws and I truely believe that perfection is the death of development. I see it as an experiment, not to find what is the most perfect but what fits us perfectly.
How do you incorporate different cultures and subcultures into your garments?
I grew up with subcultures. its everywhere, friends, people around me, media, they have all combined into a habit and when i got older , I experienced more from travelling. Mostly I combine subcultures with Asian aesthetics, because main culture is boring so I put a touch of my identity onto every piece, expressing it like its a youth culture playground. For example, an overcoat and a jacket from our first collection, have a tailored silhouette with a twist, a perfectly contrast with thai traditional fabric which is a patchwork at the back.
“HELP YOURSELF FIRST BEFORE YOU ASK FOR HELP FROM OTHERS AND KEEP GOING, DON’T STOP”
Would you like to tell us the design process you go through from inception of an idea to the final product?
In every collection, i have always been inspired by things that reminisces me of my childhood. I don’t feel like following trends so much that I lose my identity completely. I store all these things that I like and when I need to work on my design I go back to see what can be used and I pick them out, and then make it into the final key concept. I start with going to the fabric market and see whats good, then I would come back and sketch out the ideas in my head then make it into a flat design and after that into a prototype for fitting to see if there are any mistakes. I keep doing so until it comes out right and then I can move on to the production process.
What was the first piece of garment you ever made?
Back when i was 16 year-old , I bought these two pieces from a flea market which were a used denim jacket and denim jeans. Then I customized the jacket with patches, studded, chains and leather and for the pants I cut them one side long and another short and distressed them with metal beer cap. It was fun and crazy, I also put them on and went out to a music festival in Pattaya city later that night. Those two were basically the very first things I had made back then.
How was growing up for you and how did it help create your brand as it is today?
I grew up simple just like any other Thai kid. Having been sent to all boys christian school , I didn’t have much chance to express who I really was, but back then I already knew I liked fashion, designing and styling. After I graduated from university I had a chance to spread my wings. I went to sydney and that was where I found myself. There I had freedom and opportunity to express my thoughts and of course myself, I could be who I wanted to be and I could do what I desired and one day I followed my dream. When I was younger, society taught me a lot about people being racist and being homosexual and thats how I reflect it on my design. My design is genderless, anti-apartheid and timeless.
How would you define your personal style?
I see myself as someone who is chilled and easy-going. I honestly cant really put into words of how my personal style is like but you can feel it. Like when you see it you can tell this is me and there are always a bit of punk culture in every little details
How is the fashion scene in Thailand at the moment?
The fashion scene right now here in Bangkok, Thailand is like a big bowl of western and eastern mixed together and also our own culture can be seen among fashionistas and teenagers with the use of tie dye, silk hand woven or indigo dye. The scene here is on the fast move, many brands are not afraid of changing to keep up with world trends and also a lot of new young designers.
It can be hard for a young designer to capture the attention from the fashion world and you had a great start considering you only started in 2015. How has the journey been for you and what is the biggest lesson you have learned from it?
I think if I stay true to myself, keep doing what I have been doing, soon one day it will stand out and people will notice. As of now, making clothes is what I love and I am really happy I chose this way and I am glad to be a part of pushing Thai fashion into world fashion. What I have got out of this is happiness and to see clearly who I am, what I love and why I am still here.
What was the best advice given to you so far?
The best advice that I have gotten so far was from my father. He works in a totally different field, he has a logistic company and he used to see my work as something that wouldn’t earn much money but then one day he saw how much effort I put into this and how i stayed up all day and night working, he started to believe. He once told me “help yourself first before you asking for help from others and keep going, don’t stop.”
Why do you think the trend of unisex clothing has taken world by storm?
I wouldn’t want to say that unisex is a trend for me because I think that everyone is being created equally, whether it be sex, age , nationality or religion. These days people are not afraid to be who they are and they have respect toward each other. Unisex is what I stand for, so this is the main reason on why we are strongly focusing on making our product wearable to just about anyone.
What are you plans for 2017?
For next year,2017. I am going to have a launch party for my second collection at one of the most busy clubs in Bangkok at the moment, Beam, and I have also teamed up with WHVCK, a young and coming up event organizer, who is going to represent our brand and mixtape that we did together. I am also planning on starting an Haute Couture collection with a touch of TAKARA WONG‘s style, I must say that I am very excited just to think of that and other than that I am probably going to find new techniques to corporate in my collection to make sure my products are keep getting better and better for our customers.
Tell us about your latest collection.
For our latest collection, we blended silhouettes of workwear and sportswear together; for example, racing gear combined with punk rock details such as bold graphics and statement text. I aimed to express the adrenaline rush of racing, escaping the law, being an outcast and youth’s recklessness through “Love to Hate Me”. The collection’s colorways of black, red and purple are inspired by the light and sound of the underground clubs and smoke from race car fumes as well as the rebellious attitudes of the sub-culture. Electronic drum & amp; bass music was also a point of inspiration, resulting in a special glow in the dark print technique presented in items such as Fluorescent Biker Jacket crafted from leather, Glow in the Dark Plaid Trench Coat, Plastic Bucket Hat and Baggy Jeans with Silver Chain. Japanese punk rock elements can be seen in an embroidery technique on the Bosozoku Jacket along with materials such as net, leather and polyester suede. Sporty items inspired from racing included Racing Overalls, Bomber Jacket and Buttoned Track Pants.
Taka Wong collection is available to purchase through his website.