How has Thailand changed in terms of fashion sensibilities? “It’s a very exciting time for Thailand right now. There are a lot of new designers coming up and there is also a lot of interest around fashion. Our generation is exposed to fashion trends and movements very quickly, though sometimes I think a little too quickly and with no context, or history, which means the understanding is still quite on the surface.
There’s a huge amount of talent especially around the use of local materials and fusing traditional culture, but only a handful are pushing boundaries and taking risks. We are only at the start though, so I’m looking forward to seeing what’s coming.”
What did studying at Central Saint Martins and living in London teach you about fashion? “It meant I was exposed to a very multicultural environment and was able to meet talented designers from different disciplines across art and design. I found this hugely inspiring. What’s great about Saint Martins is how they place creativity at the heart of the course.
This approach to design is hugely important. It encouraged me to take more risks and really push my creativity and the exploration of my subjects.”
Tell us the story behind your eponymous brand. “Patcharavipa was born from a research trip I made to Amphawa. This is a very special place for me in Thailand that really conveys the old Siam and the olden times. This is where my grandparents met and found love. I discovered this special kind of coconut which can only be grown in Amphawa and became fascinated with it as its organic shape is like a woman’s body. I now use this in my collection and the coconut shell is a core material of ours.
We place huge importance on materials and process. All of our pieces are handmade from start to finish and we do not take part in any 3D printing. I am a huge supporter of old techniques, the art of using one’s hands.”
Were you always into design and jewellery? “Yes – luckily I have grown up in a big family, and all of us share the same appreciation for art, design and crafts. My first name is Patcharavipa, which in Thai translates to ‘bright like a diamond’, so I feel it was almost instilled in me since birth. I was always fascinated with how gemstones and diamonds sparkle. I started designing when I was 13 and it has always been my obsession and passion.”