Kuala Lumpur Fashion Week 2022 (KLFW 22) stunned us with extraordinary collections and designs. And, they even unveiled their first ever Thai designers to show on the Pavillion Kuala Lumpur runway. We recently talked to Dr. Anothai Cholachatpinyo, the mind behind Qurated Fashion Incubation Project and his collaboration with Iconcraft at KLFW 22.
How did you start your career in fashion?
Growing up, my family had a dress-making business and a tailor-made shop for men. Enamoured by the idea of fashion, I experimented with all the fabric waste the shop didn’t need and sewed it into wearable fashion for my friends. That sprouted my love for fashion and design, which ultimately pushed me to get my PhD in London at Central St. Martins College of Art and Design.
You’ve been in the fashion industry for a long time. What’s been the greatest highlight?
For me, it’s getting all of my awards and networking with my peers.
Could you tell us more about the Qurated Fashion Incubation Project (QFIP)?
QFIP is an incubation project that brings together, Thai fashion apprentices—entrepreneurs, companies, and brands—who want to develop themselves in terms of marketing, branding, and designing. It’s a short course where they are mentored by experienced design gurus from the conceptualisation of a product to the feasibility of the end product. We also dive into market research and help them analyse as well as forecast how well the commercialised pieces will do. Every apprentice isn’t the same, so we try to help them in whatever they are more experienced at.
What’s your role with the QFIP?
I’ve been a director at QFIP from the start of the project. I create the seminar and workshop curriculums for all the apprentices, while also mentoring each of them. I usually curate the step-by-step process for them from the design concept, market analysis, collection design, material selection, colours, and analysis of the collection.
Often, my role is also to help teach them how to prepare brand books, pricing, costing, and presentation. It’s not just about the creative side of fashion, but the whole scope of the industry.
What impact do you feel has QFIP had on the fashion industry?
QFIP is continuously churning out new collections and emerging designers as well as brands—giving opportunities for more than one person to shine their talents. If we keep sticking to the same, old fashion, it’ll be boring and we definitely need some stimulation as well as growth in the industry. So, QFIP impacts the industry by constantly giving faith to apprentices.
Tells us more about the Qurated x ICONCRAFT 2022 project?
Qurated x ICONCRAFT 2022 is a project dedicated to highlighting Thai crafts and designers. From showcasing sustainably made bags to to using exotic fibres made from pineapple, most of our designs are made with eco-friendly materials while also displaying the work of art done by our Thai designers.
What inspired the collection?
This collection was inspired by our culture and our signature handcraft techniques. Most of our designs have colourful hues, portraying the liveliness of Thai people. Thai people are usually quite relaxed, casual and happy, so we embedded it into the collection to represent ourselves.
Why did you choose to debut the collection at KLFW22?
Iconcraft recently opened in Pavillion Bukit Jalil and we’ve worked with them for a long time, and built a strong relationship. So, we thought it’d be a great opportunity to collaborate with them and showcase Thai designers and their talents. This year will be the first time KLFW22 unveils collections from Thai designers, and we’re honoured.
What can we expect from QFIP in the near future?
Moving forward, we’re going to see QFIP tap more into digital marketing and brand building. We’re also planning to create a visual market with artificial intelligence where we can invite people to shop, meet, discuss, try on, and select favourite pieces from our collection.
What advice can you give to those who want to start a career in fashion design?
Be brave and daring to do anything. Always know yourself and what you want to do.