The last interview of the three part series with Audi Star Creation 2012 winners (the other two are here and here) is with the boldest of all three: Soravit Kaewkamon from Thailand.
If you're familiar with the Bangkok fashion scene then you'd know that it is probably the most colourful and fun of all Asia. From prints to cuts and daring designs the Thai designers love to experiment and Soravit is no different.
After seeing her menswear winning collection, I'm looking forward to see the designer's complimentary womenswear collection which she will be showing at AFF next week!
So why did she switch to womenswear? Will it be as bold as the first one and what are her future plans? Find out this talented designer's answers below!
(P.S. I've giving away 5 pairs of tickets to watch the ASC winners show at AFF. Find out more on facebook).
Soravit Kaewkamon, 24, Thailand:
Has the internship at F J Benjamin changed your perspective on any aspects of the fashion industry? What is the most valuable thing you learned during your internship?
I joined the F J Benjamin team as a design assistant in August 2012 and it has definitely been an eye‐opening experience on how the fashion industry operates. Understanding how to do business is an integral part of any organisation’s success, but it’s not something that I was taught in fashion school. Despite my role as a design assistant, my internship experience has exposed me to the various facets of the whole business, ranging from marketing to sourcing and manufacturing to monitoring consumer trends. Besides learning more about the business side of the fashion industry, I have also picked up new technical design skills and methods from working on RAOUL’s menswear and womenswear teams. I have worked on the 2013 Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter collections for RAOUL’s menswear. The Spring/Summer collection was released earlier this year in Singapore and America, and I feel so proud and fortunate knowing that I’ve made my mark on a collection that has been released internationally.
What was the biggest challenge you have faced?
My internship with F J Benjamin was my first real job after graduating from Silpakorn University. Coming all the way to Singapore alone to work itself was very trying because I had to learn to be independent overnight and I missed my family and friends in Thailand. Furthermore, I don’t have the strongest command of English so there were a few instances of miscommunication. One year on, I can say that I’ve made some very good friends here in Singapore and my English has improved.
|Soravit with a model wearing Raoul's menswear collection which she helped design!|
For your collection ‘Love and Friendship’, you have chosen to develop womenswear pieces to complement the menswear ones you presented last year. Why is that? How do the two tie together?
I chose to do a womenswear collection this time around because I wanted to test my skills and at the same time, show my adaptability as a designer. Jil Sander, 3.1 Philip Lim and Givenchy are all labels which put out both menswear and womenswear collections each season. I would like to be able to do the same for my label when I launch it in the future. My capsule collection, ‘Beauty of Hornbill’ is the womenswear complement to the ‘Love and Friendship’ menswear collection that I showed at Audi Star Creation last year. They both feature defined cuts and strong structures on woven fabric and leather, as well as patterns and prints inspired by the hornbill. ‘Beauty of Hornbill’ will however feature bolder digital prints and more intricate laser--‐cut details to show my evolution as a designer and how I have translated the same inspiration into a different collection for a different market.
How has your work evolved from what we’ve seen last year?
I have a deep interest in prints and pattern--‐making and my work reflects this interest. In terms of evolving as a designer, I have picked up new design skills and techniques through my internship. I have become more adept at picking out fabrics that will work best with certain designs. I am also more meticulous when it comes to planning my work and I look at the bigger picture now. I pay more attention to my target audience when coming up with new collections, and this has helped me to design with more prudence and purpose.
The emerging fashion scene in Thailand is thriving. Would that incite you to go and base yourself there or would you want to be based somewhere else and why?
I would definitely base myself in Thailand because it is my home country and because I’m familiar with the Thai fashion industry. It will therefore be less of a challenge to set up my own label there. In addition, resources are more easily accessible in Thailand, where textile markets are thriving. I can also save on production costs.
As you might have noticed, the fashion industry is quite competitive especially for newcomers like yourself. How are you planning to stand out from the rest of emerging talented designers?
I believe in designing products that most accurately reflect my beliefs and identity. Through this I hope to be able to establish my signature style and achieve success as a fashion designer.
What is the next step for you? Any plans?
After my internship ends, I would like to travel to more countries, accrue more working experience and learn more about the fashion histories and cultures of the places I visit. I also hope to start my very own label in Thailand in the near future, and possibly even grow it internationally.
What is the best advice you’ve been given in the industry and one which you’d pass on to other aspiring designers in this year’s competition?
More than words of advice, it is the little things that I’ve been taught that truly made a difference. I have become a more efficient designer and am generally wiser about the fashion industry. My advice to the finalists: Stay true to yourself and your design beliefs. And remember to prepare yourself well - both mentally and creatively - for the rigors of the competition!
How did you find the experience of living and working in Singapore for a year in general? What’s the best memory/experience you will take from it?
My year with F J Benjamin here in Singapore is my first job and that in itself is a very precious memory. Having worked in the design rooms of a fashion retailer like F J Benjamin, I can say that I have learned plenty during my internship and accumulated a lot of experience in the fashion industry. I have made a lot of new friends too and all in all, my time here has been very fruitful.
|Soravit with the media at last year's show!|