As the cliche goes, life is a learning process, and you never know how it'll turn out. Well, something along that line. Or, delving deep into the cliche treasure chest, as Forrest Gump would say: "Life is like a box of chocolates _ you never know what you're gonna get."
But Maruwut Buranasilpin knew from a young age that he was destined to be around fashion, glitz and all things glamorous.
"I wasn't really a good student. I was into extra-curricular activities. I was very hyper and loud to the point that classmates selected me to be a class leader. I was also head of the cheerleading squad for our sports day. I spent all my time thinking about the choreography and designing costumes. I was really committed to those non-academic projects," he said.
Such passion has finally paid off now that Maruwut, lovingly known as Mark, MM Candy (his blog moniker) or simply Candy, is Asava's head designer who works alongside the elegant fashion house's founder, Polpat Asavaprapha.
Gently eccentric and genuinely sweet in person, Maruwut's daring sense of style _ with the aid of his blog _ has placed him in every fashion show front row and at the centre of Bangkok's cultural events.
Sometimes dubbed the Bryan Boy of Thailand, Maruwut doesn't possess the world-famous blogger's acidic streaks, but can easily match Boy in his off kilter, pansexual wardrobe. Maruwut wears what he wants _ from platform sneakers, short skirts to turbans _ and stands firm in his personal style, unyielding to constant teasing and trails of muffled giggles when he ventures into unfamiliar territories.
"I don't really like it when people say that I'm just like Bryan Boy. I like him, but I don't think anyone would want to be compared or forever associated with another person. Having said that, I never get angry when people tease me. I understand that everyone has his or her own opinion, so I don't mind," said Maruwut. "I collect clothes, and I use them as my inspiration, so sometimes I just have fun wearing them."
Due to his interest in the arts, Maruwut decided to switch schools after he finished junior high. He spent a year at the College of Fine Arts before moving to the US to finish high school. Maruwut graduated from San Francisco's Academy of Art with a bachelor's degree in fashion design. After graduation, he moved to New York to try his luck, and landed an internship in Richard Tyler's PR office where he spent a year before returning to Bangkok.
Once back home, Maruwut got his first taste of fashion work through his senior at the Academy of Art, top fashion photographer Punsiri Siriwetchapun, who roped him in to help as a stylist. After the initial stint, Maruwut's credentials included AIIZ, Kookai and Senada as well as his own brands Spook-nic and Maruwut, which have been put on hold. He has been with Asava since its inception in 2008, and hasn't looked back.
"People often ask me when I'll bring my own brands back, but I am comfortable at Asava, and it's a part of who I am as a person and as a designer. This is my life now. Also, I have my blog to be completely me."
MM Candy is one of the most eminent fashion and lifestyle blogs in Thailand. Without any restrictions from his boss, Maruwut can freely post about other local brands. His tasteful selections, wide range of interests and his lifestyle have earned him a steady amount of followers on social media websites.
"My social media channels, whether
[it be] my blog, Facebook or Instagram, are personal. They're like my diaries. I use them to share my thoughts. On one side of the coin, it's oh so personal, but you have to admit that social media plays a huge part in our lives now, and my job deals directly with lifestyles, with people, so it's really crucial to use all platforms," he said.
These days, it's unavoidable for bloggers or influencers to be swayed by brands or products. It's not uncommon for celebrities to get paid for a tweet or an Instagram picture. Accounts with a lot of followers can sometimes look like an advertising page with, sometimes, cleverly hidden agenda, while some are plainly posting freebies. The questions have long been raised over the legitimacy of these so-called influencers, and the abuse of their "power" over the masses.
"We're now living in a consumerist society. We can't deny that celebrity endorsement is also a marketing strategy. For them to have a large amount of followers, they must, first and foremost, be successful in relating to the masses. But you have to maintain your integrity as well. In my opinion there's a positive and negative side to everything," said Maruwut.
"Fashion is all about change. There'll always be something or someone new."
About the author
- Writer: Onsiri Pravattiyagul
Position: Entertainment Editor