YDL Discovery Trip in Bangkok City
YDL Discovery Report - Chatuchak Weekend Market – Chatachuk District, Bangkok, Thailand
On June 6th, 2015, by YDL Team, via YDL Fashion Network
In February 2015 the YDL News Team decided to hit Bangkok City, Thailand for our annual fashion discovery event. Amongst other topics, the focus of this trip was street markets, shopping malls and boutiques, and custom tailoring. We will blog our experience in separate parts.
After days of intensive research and preparation the expectations were set high to find some independent local Thai fashion designers and brands.
We have heard much about the local Chatuchak Weekend Market especially when it comes to wearable goods. Chatuchak market is the biggest of its kind in the world with countless stalls of local food, furniture, clothing and the usual and expected electropop merchandise.
Chatuchak Market, also known as JJ Market or as Jatujak Market to the locals, is located next to the Chatachuk park and the SkyTrain station Mo Chit. On an area of approximately 1.2 square km (approximately 35 acres) and with more than 10000 stalls spread across 27 sections, the market sees roughly 200 000 to 300 000 visitors a day on any given weekend.
At times the maze of narrow and overcrowded alleys was simply overwhelming. The plastic sparkle with its petrol scent of cheaply fabricated knock-off goods was of course prominent. The flashing LED lights were setting the scene with a vast variety of colours illuminating the fabrics from every angle possible. Bangkok loves LEDs!
What to some people might be hell on earth, others may find this market as the perfect place to dive into a creative fountain of fashion styles set in a culturally one of a kind venue.
There is more to it than meets the eye at first glance. If time, patience and a bottle of drinking water are part of your shopping survival equipment, you may be surprised how many amazingly unique fashion items you can actually find.
In particular, we found sections 5 and 6 to show some interesting vintage pieces. Mostly displayed in roofed cubicles sometimes with an area as little as two square meters, we were hit with an abundance of wearables targeted at the affluent and hip amongst the fashionable Thai youth.
Hosted by staff of young adults such as students (always smiling and rather hip themselves), some lesser-known regional labels have racked some surprisingly qualitative and innovative dress. Whether authentic leather shoes, belts and bags or fresh and light to wear skirts and blouses with a striking blend of patterns and colours… it felt rejuvenating to see that Thailand does indeed have a few who are breaking free from the stereotypical epicentre of Thailand’s low-end mass market.
By no means can these be compared with labels such as Furla, M. Kors, or A. McQueen of course; but then again they are not supposed to. Some of the quality and styles presented however, can easily draw even with if not surpass the likes of H&M and Co.
Everything from urban chic, vintage, new or second-hand, to cutting edge fashion by young up and coming designers was staged.
It seems that years of outsourcing manufacturing by western based companies have paid off, not to mention the long history and tradition of tailoring and the production of fabrics such as Thai silk itself.
Fine tuning the level of quality with an acceptable price tag, even for the locals, seems to offer new opportunities for young fashion designers to aim at a growing niche.
Realistically speaking though, it may just stay at that, a local few with a unique identity and sense for fashion, a dream to pursue, and the admirable attempt to make a mark amongst the big ten. But we like to keep our hopes up and are rooting for success stories to spring from the few we might have come across.
So our tip to the ones going on business, back packing or just passing through… travel light and shop local. Support the local fashion designers and acting fashion community, and get that something special you can show off at the next party. But take your time when you get there. Expect to bargain and be ready to walk away from a deal. The sun may be rising in the east but of course it’s not all gold that glitters.