Wednesday 12 September 2012

Bonjour Bangkok: The end of the world at Nisa and Friends

One of the greatest joys I get from this blog is getting to discover kick ass new designers from Singapore and across south-east Asia.

There’s so much talent out there and nothing gives me greater pleasure than doing a tiny bit to help expose them to a slightly wider audience.

So it’s is no surprise that the highlight of my recent trip to Bangkok was stumbling over a humble genius, whose label and shop was launched just over a month ago.

Walking through one of the alleys of Siam Square, a tiny shop space crammed to bursting point with a rainbow of colourful printed scarves called out to me, beckoning me over by standing out from the rows of generic identikit clothes on offer.

The shop was called Nisa – and it was my immense fortune that one of the designers, Namwan (Sirintra), was inside and only too happy talk about her new baby.

This Ocean Symphony dress was my first pick... love it!!!

Nisa and Friends was founded in July 2012 and is a collaborative effort of two sisters. Namfon (Sunisa) draws the illustrations/doodles and Namwan (Sirintra), the younger sister who is currently studying fashion design, does the design/cuts of the garments. The result is beautiful and colourful pieces which are unique and wearable.

The first collection from Nisa and Friends takes ‘Symphony of The End of the World’ as a theme (it is 2012 after all!) But it’s not as gloomy as you might expect. On the contrary the girls’ take on the subject is more of a tongue-in-cheek, humorous and cheerful one.

Gorgeous doodles of owls, octopuses, rabbits and lionfish playing musical instruments and looking impossibly cute dot each piece. If this is the end of the world then the Mayan prediction won’t be so bad after all.

Sirintra, one of the sisters behind Nisa and Friends.

Cute illustrations and cuts are what make these pieces special.

 The style of the illustrations is very distinctive with a sort of cartoonish quality making them a lot of fun. But that’s not all the charm. The garments are very well cut and flattering, especially the signature shift dresses which quickly sold out (they only make about 20 pieces of each design to keep it exclusive and unique).

Luckily for me -  I managed to grab the last piece of the ‘Owl’s Night’ dress in my size and can’t wait to wear it! I loved the fit of the dress, the illustration of course and the side panels which shine like a starry night. Just the perfect balance of statement and simplicity!

The separates at Nisa and Friends are also as beautiful - from the Land’s Life maxi skirt to the shorts and top combos in varying illustrations and shades. But nothing beats the printed scarves where the illustrations can be seen in full.

Love this Alice Tea-time scarf inspired by Alice in Wonderland...

Each scarf has a theme and a distinctive illustration.

Trying on some of the pieces... this time the Land's Life
maxi skirt which was slightly too long for me :-(

Finally decided on this Owl's night cute dress with shimmery
black panels on the side - which you can't see in the picture!

 As refreshing as it is to see young people like Nawman and Namfon doing what they love and taking on a world of blog shop cheap mass-production with their creativity and ambition, it is doubly heartwarming to see the good response they’ve been getting despite having just launched – which also shows that they’re doing something right!

So if you’re in Bangkok, make sure not to miss Nisa and Friends’ little charming and inviting shop. Stop in and pick yourself a unique piece which I promise will cost you less than a generic high street dress and beats it hands down in the individuality stakes. Tell them I sent you.

Nisa and Friends is located on 262 Siam Square, Soi 3, Bangkok, Thailand. You can also like the Nisa and Friends Facebook page here.