Wishful thinking

Fashion is a world meant to be viewed. All the shows and the fashion spreads _ they are meant to be consumed visually while the glossies are meant to be flipped through, and not read, analysed, and digested with the kind of attention you summon with a novel in your hands.

That's why fashion people who do read are a rare breed in the business. By saying reading, we're talking about non-fashion publications _ not those biographies of designers and fashion people, not even those chick-lit tales sprinkled with scenes that remind you of the fashion life (especially ones that show credit card bills). We mean books that do not name-drop Chanel, Prada, Miu Miu, Barneys, Harvey Nicks, Kate Moss, etc. The recent winner of the coveted Mango Fashion Awards, Wisharawish Akarasantisook, is the type who's also an avid reader, thanks to his solid background in drama.

The cultural officer at the Ministry of Culture has, since his school days, been familiar with classic literary works from both sides of the Atlantic, especially plays, along with many works by French writers, following his postgraduate education in France.

As he embarked on his career in fashion, Wisharawish delved into a number of books on design which, along with traditional Thai art and architecture, form the basis for his fashion vision.

_ Samila Wenin

What are you reading?

There are two: Classy: Be A Lady, Not A Tramp by Derek Blasberg and Meditations by Rene Descartes. I'm kind of forced to read the latter.

What is the book you've always wanted to read but still haven't?

I want to read Traibhumi [the 700-year-old text on spiritual cosmology].We had to study it in university and I always feel guilty reading only a friend's notes before taking the test and never touching the original text, which actually is the foundation for all traditional Thai art and architecture.

Why haven't you read it?

Much as I want to read the book, I'm kind of reluctant to know all those descriptive details of heavens and hells, therefore I choose not to touch it.

Is there a book you've never managed to finish?

The Everyman's edition of Complete Shorter Fiction by Herman Melville which just sits right there. I have no idea why I can't manage to finish it. There's always some reason for me to put it down.

Did you ever buy a book because everybody is talking about it, but when you actually read it you didn't like it at all?

Many of those award-winning books which I don't want to name. I won't blame the authors, nor would I blame myself for buying them, but I won't believe the hype again.

Roughly, at home how many books have you bought that you haven't started reading?

Now there are only two: Le Vice-Consul by Marguerite Duras, and another one about fashion marketing. Actually there are more but most of them have been passed down to friends and family.

Do you have a book or books that you've bought because you judged it by its cover?

I don't usually do that but for some design books (graphic design and minimalism design), I won't open before buying. I'll just buy them and keep my fingers crossed they'll be a winner, like doing the lottery.