From 28 to 31 January 2021, ASEAN International Digital Fashion Week will broadcast on the THG website at 2100 hrs (+8 GMT) for 4 nights. Watch the showcase here.
It’s said that necessity is the mother of invention, and what with the many curveballs that life has thrown our way in the past year, we’ve all had to get creative in order to adapt to a “new normal”. The fashion industry, well-known for its forward-looking spirit, has risen to the occasion admirably, with brands, designers and retailers alike exploring innovative solutions to not just survive, but also thrive in the midst of these trying times.
One such success story is the ASEAN Fashion Designers Showcase (AFDS), which has pivoted its annual physical exhibition into the ASEAN International Digital Fashion Week (AIDFW), the first of its kind in the region in terms of style, size and scope. Stretching over four days and rallying more than 60 fashion designers from across the globe, the AIDFW will tee off tomorrow (28 January) via a series of “live” broadcasts right here on TheHomeGround Asia’s website.
For Country Head of Thailand Pitnapat Yotinratanachai, the AIDFW represents an unmissable opportunity to take his namesake label to the next level, and a chance to show the world what local talents are capable of achieving; alongside Pimsiri Nakswasdi and Vorravut Tho-ei, Pitnapat is flying the flag high for Thailand at the AIDFW. A highly acclaimed, highly versatile designer, Pitnapat has created costumes for the Opera Siam’s renditions of classics such as Tosca, Carmen and Otello, in addition to heading up his eponymous brand PITNAPAT.
Characterised by a delicate balance between the traditional and the contemporary, his couture and ready-to-wear collections have been shown at several international fashion weeks, and his work has won the hearts of numerous Thai celebrities and luminaries – even Queen Sirikit is rumoured to be a fan!
In the lead-up to the start of AIDFW, we spoke to Pitnapat about finding inspiration in music, coping with the aftershocks of the pandemic, going green in fashion and more.
A Q&A with Pitnapat Yotinratanachai
Why did you choose to be a fashion designer?
I’ve liked fashion ever since I was a kid. My mother was a seamstress, and I wanted to follow in her footsteps. I love looking at the designs by up-and-coming international designers, because it helps to motivate me in my own career. I want people to wear my designs, and I’m so happy that they love the work that I do.
What do you love about being a fashion designer?
In fashion, we are constantly creating new work and trying to find new techniques and new perspectives, in order to introduce new ideas to our audiences. As a designer, I have a job that I enjoy, and I get to meet fellow designers who offer different views [on fashion]. I love working as a designer because it brings me a lot of happiness.
Who and what are the things that inspire your style and the collection that you will present at AIDFW?
The collection I will be showcasing at the AIDFW is titled “Rock Star Collection 2021”, and it’s a fun take on rock stars and retro pop rock music. A combination of rawness, luxury, fun and street art is what makes this collection unique. It embodies the essence and identity of PITNAPAT design.
How have the pandemic and the lockdowns affected you and the local fashion industry?
The outbreak of COVID-19 in [Thailand] has had a severe impact on the local fashion industry. Everything has had to stop, which has caused a lot of changes. On my part, I’ve adapted [to the situation] by presenting my work online through digital channels, as have many other Thai designers. By supporting one another, we will get through the pandemic together.
Was there a need to change your creative approach and collection design to suit the digital medium?
The process of designing this collection didn’t change, but my format of presentation did. I put more focus on digital media – I created [an online] portfolio so that people around the world could access my work.
What is the impact of the pandemic on the ASEAN fashion industry, and what are the adjustments you’ve had to make in coping with this increasingly digital fashion scene?
As designers, we’ve been unable to travel to fashion shows abroad, and we’ve had to use social media to transform our presentations from the physical into the digital. I’ve been tapping on social media for a long time now, so I didn’t have to make too many adjustments. I see the use of digital media as a way to make my work more accessible, and I will continue to pursue developments on this front in the future.
What is sustainable fashion and do you practice sustainable fashion?
I focus on using eco-friendly materials in the production of my clothes and accessories, and I try to ensure that the manufacturing process does not destroy the environment. I am an advocate of sustainable fashion, and in the future, I would like to employ sustainable ideas in my collections.
What advice would you give the young designers in your country and across the ASEAN region?
In order to be a good designer, you must pay attention to quality and you must be creative – never stop researching and thinking of new concepts so that you can present the best work possible. Be yourself, but remember that a good designer should also exchange ideas with and accept the opinions of other people and other designers.
Broadcasted live from Singapore, the fashion designers and models in the showcase comes from Singapore, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, and China. Catch over 50 runway shows and fashion films from 28 to 31 Jan 2021 at 9 p.m. (+8 GMT) on AIDFW 2021 via this link.