SHOPPING REPORT: BANGKOK
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.