A creative thinker by training and style conscious by heart, Napat Sutithon is one of the most familiar faces of the Bangkok fashion sphere. The former designer of iconic fashion house Greyhound Original has taken on a new role of fashion editor at the freshly launched Thai edition of ELLEMEN where he presents his tasteful perspectives of street sophistication and vintage aesthetics.
DID YOU CHANGE FROM A FASHION DESIGNER TO AN EDITOR?
During these past couple of years, there has been an active movement in men’s fashion and ELLEMEN was rumoured to come to Thailand. A thought flashed through my mind that the publication industry might be interesting. When I decided I wanted to work as a freelance stylist and had my portfolio printed, the editor-in-chief [Narin Palanuraksa] called me the same day to see if I knew anyone who would fit the position or if I’d be interested. The chemistry of the magazine felt right. I once asked the editor-in-chief why I was chosen. He said it was because I look at fashion as art, as style — not as fashion and trends per se. That’s the vital thing for men.
DID YOU STUDY FASHION?
No, not at all. I studied in a creative field — art direction. I was trained to be a creative thinker. I went to Australia. According to my teacher, when you know how to think creatively, you can create anything — art, music, fashion. To me, it’s a plus that I didn’t go to fashion school. I may otherwise get stuck in the box and would not be who I am now. To me, it’s art.
HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED WITH GREYHOUND ORIGINAL?
The brand was looking for a straight-guy designer to work with their menswear line. They knew I was interested in fashion and my style was right for them, I guess. At the beginning, I had a weekend class to learn patterns and techniques. I gained a lot of experience working there.
WHAT’S THE MAIN CHALLENGE IN MEN’S FASHION?
There hasn’t been much change in menswear. That’s the challenge. Men still wear tuxedos like they did in the 20s, 30s and 40s. It indicates that clothing is essentially still the same. It’s not what men wear, but the spirit it’s worn in. In menswear, any evolution in small details is already a major change. Collar shapes, sleeve lengths, pant lengths, thick soles, glossy or matte leather — fashion only plays around with those things. It’s about silhouettes, fabrics and style.
DO YOU NORMALLY CHECK OUT WHAT PEOPLE ARE WEARING?
Yes, a lot. I look at their shoes first. One may wear a plain T-shirt, ripped jeans yet with a good pair of shoes. I would want to talk to him because he pays attention to small details.
WHAT CAN SHOES TELL YOU ABOUT A PERSON?
Cleanliness, social status, maybe. They can reveal if you’re a sporty type, if you’re a meticulous person. If someone wears leather Prada, you can tell that he’s into fashion and luxury, while someone in a pair of Church’s or Brooks Brothers might be more into quality and classic style.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVE SHOPPING SPOT?
My number one, the best shopping destination on Earth — Chatuchak Weekend Market. The rest is online.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVE FASHION ERA?
It depends. For sportswear, the 50s up to the 90s. For classic suits, the 50s, 60s and 70s.
HOW DO YOU COMBINE YOUR PASSION FOR VINTAGE WITH NEW TRENDS?
The key is to balance. The style nowadays is not entirely vintage. It’s mix and match. On the runways, today’s fashion is very influenced by vintage style. They can coexist.