Style Profile - Puifaiy - Visual Merchandiser - Bangkok
Puifaiy is a 24 year visual merchandiser and design team assistant at a global luxury leather brand in Bangkok. She graduated with a BA in Fine & Applied Arts in 2018 and in September 2020 will be furthering her studies with an MA in Fashion Art Direction at San Francisco’s Academy of Arts.
Street Style Planet Earth caught up with Puifaiy to chat about the environmental concerns of fashion, Thai Youth Style and where she gets the ideas for her own personal looks.
Where does your interest in fashion come from ?
Since I was young, I loved dressing-up that little be “extra”. I always dressed myself and wouldn’t let my parents pick my outfits for me. I love mix matching things and stealing (borrowing lol) my mom’s stuff.
My mom is very fashionable and ahead of her time. She loves watching Chick Flick movies and made me watch them with her - that period was the 2000’s era and fashion from that time is everything! I grew up with Legally Blonde, Confessions of a Shopaholics, The Devil Wears Prada, Miss Congeniality, Wild Child, 13 Going On 30 and so on. So I guess my mom and 1990-2000s Hollywood films are big influences on me.
As I grew, my personal style has changed and adapted in so many ways. I fell in love with 80s power dressing/punk era and 90s heroine chic. I’ve now gravitated towards a more masculine and boyish look as my personality is not as feminine (but I can still pull of feminine looks!) and it’s much more comfortable to wear. Apart from dressing up, I’ve enjoyed drawing and painting since I was young. Studying Fashion and Art, becoming a fashion designer and running my own empire or fashion house are long term goals for me.
How did your BA degree help with your plans to more forward?
I learnt to do things on my own and went through the whole process of fashion design - from formulating ideas and inspiration for the collection, sketching over and over, designing, analysing trends, researching, executing styling, planning for the shoots, and to finally make what’s inside my head become reality. I enjoyed the process even though it normally takes a long period of time to finish the project but once it’s done, the outcome was always rewarding.
Anything not so good?
I seem to get used to always working by myself on every project - I always liked to manage the whole process by myself. It became like a comfort zone to work alone because I knew that I had everything in control. But in reality, people are working with other people and having teams. Since then, I’ve had opportunities to work as a team and I’ve learned to trust other people and how to share responsibilities with my co-workers. It showed me that working as a team isn’t so bad and it can also help achieve a good outcome with clarity and ease.
Your MA in San Francisco sounds exciting
I will be majoring in Fashion Art Direction at the Academy of Art to gain insight and knowledge of the final stage of fashion and branding. Since completing my 1st degree which centred on the early stages of fashion design, this is the area I’m really interested in. I’m looking forward to living in the U.S.A and the experiences and exposure it may bring.
What’s the long term plan after graduating?
Having my own brand has always been a dream since I was little. It’s something I don’t want to rush though. I feel like I need more experience of the process in creating a brand so for now I want to work for fashion houses to gain more experience and expertise until the time is right.
How would you describe your personal style?
Edgy, alternative, street, 80s 90s and 2000s (depends on my mood lol), boyish and a sense of vintage
Any favourite Thai brands / designers?
Favourite International designers / brands?
Vetements, Marine Serre, Mugler, Off-White, Vivienne Westwood, Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, HYEINSEO, MISBHV, IAMGIA, Poppy Lissiman, Alexander Wang, Louis Vuitton, Prada and Dior.
Do you keep an eye on the youth fashion scenes of any other Asian Countries? Which city do you feel has the most exciting fashion scene?
I keep up with youth fashion by using social media and online platforms so it is more of a world widevision. I generally don’t look for any particular city or country bases ‘scenes’ but I feel like Bangkok has its own sense of style that has never been seen the same exposure as Seoul or Tokyo.
Since you first became interested in fashion & style, how do you see Thai Youth around you interacting with fashion and style?
Thailand previously had many specific standards or exact types when it came to dressing. Mostly ‘mainstream’ conservative styles - not only the youth but for everyone. It was a bland time, but now the world is smaller with the rise of social media and online platforms allowing people all around the world keep up with the same thing at the same time.
For many years, I’ve grown, known and discovered amazing and mesmerising subcultures and eras in every part of the world through studying, researching online - all unique and remarkable in their own ways. I’ve noticed that some people - online and offline, in my circles, fashion and art students, friends of friends, people in Thai fashion industry, are able to pick up some of those accents and adapt and mixed it to create their own personal styles. The ability to take an influence and make their own is something which makes Thai youth unique and recognisable.
I strongly believe that to become a fashion person, you can even be anti-fashion and still be stylish, it doesn’t need to be ‘on-trend’ to be what the media consider ‘fashionable’.
Climate concern has been a big part of 2019 - How do you think this will affect fashion over 2020?
Nowadays big fashion brands are starting to become more considerate on using alternative materials for their products and also packaging. I feel like they are definitely concerned about the issue and trying their bests to help the situation. I’ve seen a lot of brands engage with recycling and up cycling. I feel relieved seeing those (recycling, reusing, or up cycling) logos on the products.
Finding your true self and personal styles is an important topic to me. Being true to your personal style can only reinforce upper individuality. Know who you are and what you truly like will prevent you from excessive or compulsive buying which ultimately causes waste. I know sometimes it really is an investment but if you save up to buy something you really like, that isn’t ‘trendy’ or ‘fast-fashion’, it will be with you for a very long time.
Thrifting and buying vintage clothings/accessories is becoming a really big flush of approval for the youth, it helps prevent buying new stuff every season which might help reduce the amount of new production from brands as well - no demand, no supply.
So in 2020, I think fashion brands will come up with a lot more of new ideas for making their brands sustainable and people around the world (not only in the fashion industry) will be awoken on the issue and more considerate on buying new stuff. In the perfect world, I hope people will stop buying fast products, be thoughtful and become more of themselves by having fun with expressing their true genuine styles.
Have you ever been to Bangkok’s Elle Fashion Week?
I’ve been to Elle Fashion Week twice with my fashion student friends. I attended Fly Now III and Vickteerut shows. The experience was refreshing and exciting.
I think there are more of luxurious and classy fashion houses in Thailand and less alternative young fashion houses. There should be more of platforms for brands to showcase their products not just to the youth but every level of the market.
Who are your fashion inspirations / influences?
Mostly they are people that I love and cherish who truly inspired me - Rihanna, Nadia Lee Cohen, Alexa Demie, Elizabeth De La Piedra and Aleali May.
Where do you look for inspiration ?
These days its mostly via Instagram. Sometimes I go for online/print magazines like i-D, Dazed, LOVE, Vogue, VFiles and Hypebeast. I also watch music videos from my favourite artists.
Other than style and fashion, what else interests you?
I love dancing (hip hop, ballet and jazz), playing video games, hanging out with friends at a café or restaurant with delicious food, interior design and home decor.
Do you have any secret or favourite places to shop in BKK?
I don’t really have specific or favourite stores, I’m more of an online shopper. I randomly search for the items that I want online and make sure that they’re authentic and not scammers. I normally go for multi-branded or the brands’ official online stores, websites or apps like HBX and Carnival BKK. For vintage pieces, I find them on Instagram, Depop and TheRealReal.
Where should someone visiting Bangkok check out?
I’m a stay-at-home kinda person but when I go out, I normally go to Roast Café and Restaurants, JJ (Chatuchak) Market, the Siam Paragon area, Yes! R&B Themed Karaoke, Thonglor and discover some new interesting cafés or restaurants with my friends.
What are your hopes and dreams for 2020?
I hope for myself and people around me to grow, learn, be kinder, more creative, have more discipline, be open to the opportunities and to the world, expand on aspects on life, accept sudden changes and challenges, comprehend equality and diversity and be ready for this big world and the future ahead!
Shot on location in Old Town, Bangkok
Words & Photos by Al de Perez
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