Fashion's Odd Couple

"Disaya x Dry Clean Only Bangkok" collection is an unlikely collaboration between two brands, each with a distinctive aesthetic. Disaya "Aom" Sorakraikitikul and her namesake brand is known for being demure, luxurious and feminine and can't be any more contrary to Patipat "Best" Chaipukdee's Dry Clean Only Bangkok, which is known for its street and rebel appeal (that has even won Beyonce's approval).


Photos courtesy of Disaya x Dry Clean Only Bangkok

However, the creative directors of both brands recently launched their brainchildren, which blends them into one special collection in time for the festive season. Guru talks to Aom and Best about "Disaya x Dry Clean Only Bangkok" collection.

How did the collaboration come about?

Aom: It began with Disaya's definition of being sustainable. Our clothes should be worn again and again, in every season, and feel timeless. With that in mind, our answer is to collaborate with Dry Clean Only Bangkok [Best is known for his exceptional skill of breathing new life into vintage and pre-loved pieces through various embroidery techniques].

Best: At DCOB, whenever we come up with a new project I envision the end result and ask myself if I can do it. When I learnt what this collection wanted from me I became interested in the collaboration between two brands and here we are.

Given that your designs are so different from each other, what is it like working together?

Aom: Everyone points out that our brands are so different but I think that is our strong point. It causes people to pay attention and want to find out more. What Disaya and DCOB have in common, however, is our passion for design and the craft of embroidery to increase value of our pieces in terms of details and story behind our collection. At first, Disaya let DCOB interpret Disaya in its own way. Then we edit the result to fit with our customers. I was impressed when I saw the prototype that Best did. I felt like he understood Disaya or I let him unleash his full creativity.

Best: I saw the rebel in Aom from the time she lived in London and launched her first collection there. I remember that she was so special. She expressed the sexiness of lingerie through the innocence of a teddy bear. She must have a rebel side in her, for sure. And usually, DCOB adds a luxury touch to pre-loved clothes by adding craft and technique to them. This time we already have a luxury part on Disaya pieces so I can add the rebel side to create a new balance. The result is the image I have for Disaya in my mind.

Tell us more about the collection. What is the main inspiration behind it?

Aom: The main inspiration is the identity of both brands. We both picked some classic pieces from Disaya's archive. They are pieces that our fans like and still ask about. They are reinvented and interpreted by DCOB through deconstruction of pattern or adding street vibe with pieces from vintage clothes that DCOB collects from markets all over the world.

Best: The second part of the collection are souvenirs, which were based off lifestyle products we both are into and use on a daily basis. We both believe that fashion has gone beyond clothes. It's about living life beautifully with things that you love. Again, we combine classic and rebel elements in our clothes down to accessories.

What's in store for this collection?

Aom: The hybrid collection is mainly about dresses because about 80% of Disaya archive is dresses. The rest is jackets, shirt that is spliced with sequin dress, vintage T-shirt with bear and eagle [mascots of both brands] on them but has lace sleeves.

Best: Our souvenir collection, which is available at our pop-up store, will be more trendy. A no-belt robe that you can wear over a T-shirt look. A cloth bag big enough for an overnight stay, sneakers and so on.

You both have found success and recognition quite early into your careers. What advice do you have for aspiring fashion designers?

Aom: Back then there was a big change in fashion in Thailand. Many brands from Thailand were trying to find a new market abroad and I was fortunate to be part of that movement. Disaya was born while I was studying in England at Central St Martins. I won an award for my designs and got some attention from the media so it gave me a leg up in starting my brand. Celebrities wore my design and shops stocked my pieces. Then I partook in Elle Fashion Week in Thailand and became known here so I kinda started Disaya in both places at the same time. My collection was sold in Thailand and abroad so things took off quite quickly. The world back then wasn't as small as it is today. To bring your brand abroad wasn't easy. I think it's very important to know your brand, who's your customer, your brand image and which direction your brand should evolve. It's about constantly improving and not standing still.

Best: I would ask them whether they are serious about being designers. Fashion isn't fun. Behind every beautiful dress, there's so much going into it. I work very hard to get to this point. Not only must your design be beautiful but it has to have a story. How would you publicise your brand especially when you're an individual designer on a budget? So your clothes must speak for themselves and make people want to return for more. I would say you must 'love' fashion. Enough that you can work in the industry for 10, 20 or 30 years. Love also gets you through the difficult days and keeps you going.