SHOP­PING RE­PORT: BANGKOK

Escape! Malaysia - - Contents -

As a shop­per’s paradise, Bangkok is fast be­com­ing known as the fash­ion cap­i­tal of South­east Asia

Shop­ping here can al­most be con­sid­ered a game of strat­egy that re­quires stam­ina to go through crowded mar­kets, street smarts in hag­gling and a hound’s nose to sniff out the best bar­gains. Ev­ery cor­ner you turn is bound to lead you to an­other shop­ping des­ti­na­tion: a shop­ping mall for in­ter­na­tional brands here, a night mar­ket for thrifted finds and touristy sou­venirs there.

As a shop­per’s paradise, Bangkok is also fast be­com­ing known as the fash­ion cap­i­tal of South­east Asia. When did Bangkok claim such a ti­tle? It’s hard to pin­point a date and many will ar­gue that other more ur­ban cities could con­tend for the ti­tle. But the real­ity of it is that Bangkok could eas­ily trump just about any place in the re­gion. The malls, streets and mar­kets sell­ing cheap and trendy “throw­away fash­ion” are some of the big­gest draws that en­tice trav­ellers to re­peat vis­its to Bangkok reg­u­larly. It is also no se­cret that many blogshops set up in Sin­ga­pore and Malaysia started out sell­ing qual­ity pieces from eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble whole­sale re­tail­ers in Thai­land.

On the other end of the fash­ion spec­trum, Bangkok also has a solid col­lec­tion of lux­ury brands as well. Gleam­ing malls around the city cen­tre carry in­ter­na­tional la­bels and fash­ion giants like Givenchy, DVF and Ver­sace. The launch of the solely Thai ver­sion of fash­ion bible, VOGUE magazine, in 2013 also speaks vol­umes that Bangkok lo­cals are tak­ing what they wear se­ri­ously. This is most ev­i­dent in the boom of Thai de­sign­ers that have been rock­ing in­ter­na­tional run­ways and in­de­pen­dent shows to rave re­views in re­cent years. And it’s not just Thai fash­ion de­sign­ers that are re­ceiv­ing global press. Thai life­style prod­uct de­sign­ers are con­stantly hog­ging head­lines of “next big thing to look out for” with their in­no­va­tive and prac­ti­cal award-win­ning cre­ations.

Clearly, when it comes to shop­ping in Bangkok, fash­ion dom­i­nates, and not just in what’s trendy right now. It’s re­fresh­ing and ex­cit­ing to know that lo­cal de­sign­ers rep­re­sent­ing vastly dif­fer­ent styles are gain­ing the in­ter­na­tional recog­ni­tion they so de­serve. But it is also thrilling to know that free­dom of ex­pres­sion in Thai­land doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Bangkok isn’t just a shop­per’s paradise any­more, it is a fash­ion­ista’s sanc­tu­ary.

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