We met up with Oh at one of the shopping malls downtown. She was in an ecstatic mood, and rightfully so, as her collaboration with renowned surf brand, ROXY x OHFUTON, was about to be unveiled. A two-year project in the making, not only is the collection set to be sold throughout Asia, it also marks the first time Roxy has ever worked with a designer outside of its usual roster.
Hathairat Charoenchaichana, better known as Oh Futon, is an artist and illustrator known for her big-eyed girl characters. She’s also known as a bassist for two defunct bands Futon and Styrene Jungle. We sat down with her today to talk fashion, femininity, and her ever-changing artistic evolution.
Many of us know you as a fashionista. How did fashion help shape you as an artist you are today?
Actually, my first job was a stylist. I feel like fashion and I have always been inseparable because I’ve always loved playing dress up since I was a kid. When I went to Silpakorn university, I was surrounded by people who didn’t conform to the norms and did whatever they liked. The reason I got into the fashion industry in the first place was because I was scouted by Pa Teu, who saw my afro hair and gave me a runway gig.
For me, fashion is everywhere whether it’s the way I dress or the way I wear my hair. It’s my passion. Even now that I’ve gotten older and become a little less flamboyant, I still love fashion. That’s why I was super happy when I was asked to collaborate with Roxy. It’s one of my greatest achievements having the opportunity to work with such an international brand.
You’ve been in the business for a long time. How has the experience shaped your perspective of the world?
Decades of working in the industry has taught me about responsibility. No matter how seasoned you are, you have to be responsible, especially in this line of work. You have to build trust because you’re not working alone. There’s a client and a whole team of people behind the scenes. When I was younger, I would just give up and walk away, but that’s not how I operate now. I used to be greedy and agreed to every job I was given. However, I later learned that it’s better to do one thing at a time and focus all my energy on that. With this Roxy collab, I don’t mind if it took me two years to finish. Me and my team are just very happy to see it out in the world.
You’ve worked with a lot of famous brands, how about your own project? Will we get to see your solo exhibition soon?
I’d really like to do that. The thing is, though, an exhibition takes up a lot of my time. I’d have to clear my schedule for at least half a year so that I can focus solely on that. Before Covid-19 hit, I did a few exhibitions both in Germany and Shibuya. Then everything stopped and I was kind of stuck in Germany for a year. During that time, I only worked on the Roxy project and nothing else. But who knows? When things finally calm down, I might start working on an exhibition when I’m back in Germany.
On the occasion of this year’s International Women’s Day, can you recommend one up-and-coming female artist to us?
I don’t know that many. How about someone I know and admire? Her name is Jaa Phiratee, an ad director from Factory01. Go check out her work and you’ll see that she’s got a great sense of fashion. Her point of view is so unique and she’s very good at story-telling. Definitely the one to watch!
As a woman, which gender stereotype do you wish other women should challenge the most?
I think it’s time we accept ourselves for who we truly are. The beauty standard shouldn’t have a place in today’s world any more and we should defy it. No matter what shape, size or color we are, each one of us is beautiful in our own way. The most challenging thing for human beings is self-acceptance. Don’t look down on yourself or try to be someone else. Society should really promote this kind of mentality. Also, we must not forget to stay healthy!