At SOI SA:M as “SHONE PUIPIA”

Despite its location in a quiet, secluded soi, SOISA:M is hardly a secret to the city’s art lovers. If you come from the art or fashion world, chances are you have heard of or about Shone Puipia, a Thai fashion designer who breathes new life into his creations. Today, we’re taking you on a tour of his boutique where minimal fashion meets maximal design–where meticulous concepts get translated into every fiber of the brand ‘SHONE PUIPIA.’ 

The beginning of his fashion career 

The Puipia family, if you don’t already know, has been involved in the art world for several generations. With art running deep in the family’s DNA, it’s hardly a surprise that Shone would follow in the same artistic footsteps of those in his family, albeit with his own creative twist. “Growing up, I was surrounded by art. Although I didn’t want to pursue fine arts like my parents, I knew that I wanted to work in a creative field. When I discovered fashion, I got to experiment with clothes and transform something 2D into 3D. It’s a kind of creation that’s close to your body. For me, it’s like wearable art.”

Before fully developing his own label, Shone had to start from scratch by gradually creating small pieces. The opportunity then came knocking when he was asked to show his collections, produced during his first and fourth years at university, at MAIIAM. It was his debut stage as a fashion designer. He told us that, “It’s normal for people with a fashion degree to want to intern at big fashion brands. That way, they can improve their skills and use them to develop their own label. I didn’t plan to actually start my own brand, but there came a point when I wanted to have a space where I can exhibit my work the way I want and express my own identity. That’s how SOI SA:M and SHONE PUIPIA came to be.”

What makes SHONE PUIPIA stand out?

“Minimum in structure, yet maximum in details. My clothing requires such meticulousness that each piece features its own unique cutting. I put a lot of emphasis on tailoring and materials. When I want to add texture to certain pieces, I would have to first draw by hand before screen printing. Some pieces are even constructed entirely by recycled scraps. I’ve incorporated a ‘handcraft’ technique into all of my work and always try to come up with new techniques that can add uniqueness to my clothes. It’s also a way to challenge myself.” He also added that he can’t just put his own ideas and techniques into clothes. As a designer, he’s also responsible for highlighting someone’s personality and telling their story through what they’re wearing. Clothes are the best medium for your identity and character. They allow other people to see and understand you for who you really are.

All of Shone’s pieces are big on colors. He wants people to look at his clothes and feel happy. The color red always plays a part in every one of his collections. “Because it has the kind of energy that feels very influential. Or maybe it shows the other side of me, who’s very sensual,” he added, laughing. 

Character Vs. Charisma

Whenever we asked him to talk about himself, Shone tended to be shy and economical with his words. When he talked about his work, his clothes and the process behind it, however, he was the exact opposite. “I’m a little quiet by nature (laughs). I don’t like talking and I want my work to speak for itself.” When talking about his tailoring and concepts, one thing he often mentioned was how his creations were made to order. “The advantage to this is that if someone chooses to buy my clothes, they can be sure that they’ll get the right size and design that they really want. Creating a garment for an individual is such an amazing experience to me. Also, we know that the fashion industry is bad for the environment, so creating made-to-order clothes helps alleviate the issue since they’re not mass produced, but rather made specifically for each person.” This is another factor that makes SHONE PUIPIA stand out from the crowd.

The boutique behind his success

Behind every piece seen on display is often the process that most people tend to forget about. The amount of work that goes into making garments for each collection is staggering. Shone showed us his ‘2D’ phase, a sort of vision board that connects all of his ideas and different collections together. “I used to collect different images and make them into a collage before I would begin any collection. This helps me process my thoughts and enables me to come up with a theme for a collection. It was a good process and if I have time and opportunity, I would definitely do it again.” Apart from being a designer, he also likes to bake. “I’m actually planning to open a cafe here in the future. Who knows, some of my baked goods might also make an appearance.” (laughs).

No Clothes, No Fashion 

“The world would be a lot more dull. Clothes have the power to heal my soul, they make me happy. I am fortunate to be able to do what I love for a living. They make me feel better when I’m stressed out and they just give me hope. My latest project “Cloudbusting,” whose name taken from Kate Bush’s song, is inspired by hope and brighter, better days.”

Shone continued to add, “The fashion scene today is a lot more fun than it used to be. The new generation is full of energy and ideas. Thai designers are starting to become more diverse and many of them are doing a similar thing as I am. I feel like people start to care more about clothes.”