Toddling down cool street

Mother of twins Rybena Tanwimol talks about bringing hip hop style to childrenswear

Rybena “Nana” Tanwimol is a well-known VJ, model, actress and car racer. She is also a hip hop sensation’s wife and mother of gorgeous twins Bena and Brooklyn Guy Intachai. Now she is ready to take on yet another role — a streetwear brand aimed at babies and children called DekTay.

Rybena ‘Nana’ Tanwimol with some DekTay (Cool Kid) clothes. PHOTO: Pornpro Satrabhaya

“It actually never crossed my mind before I had my kids. My husband already had a streetwear brand for adults called NVSC — short for Never Say Cutz — which is our family’s hairdressing business. The clothes were displayed in our barbershops and have garnered quite a following, especially among Thaitanium fans. A lot of people asked us why we didn’t make the same cool clothes for children,” said Rybena. “So we did, because that’s what we wanted our kids to wear, too.”

Her husband Prinya “Way” Intachai from hip hop group Thaitanium is known for his cool, urban street look; a man of style that pays a lot of attention to his outfits.

“My husband and I think that as children today have lots of photos taken, they should look good in those pictures. I want my kids to look like their outfit has been planned, not something we’ve just grabbed and thrown on them without thinking,” said the mother of the 14-month-old twins.

Rybena feels that childrenswear should not be limited to just cutesy, princess dresses for girls and plain, boring T-shirts for boys. Cookie-cutter designs just did not do it for her.

“Children have different characters, but the clothes in the market are not very diverse. Girls don’t always want to wear frilly skirts, and boys might want something cool, too. There is no streetwear brand for children in Thailand at the moment. DekTay is all about bringing out a child’s character and coolness,” Rybena explained.

The products on offer include signature Bangkok City Baby T-shirts, tracksuits, skirts, dresses, cool caps and headbands. Caps are by far the most popular because they can match any outfit and come in handy in Thailand’s weather.

To be honest, she was not hoping for such an overwhelming response. She’d kept her fingers crossed, but was afraid that Thai parents might not get the idea.

“I wasn’t sure whether they would open up to these sort of clothes for kids, but it turns out that parents are very enthusiastic to see our products. There are a lot of people who like this style and want their kids to wear it too,” said Rybena.

DekTay, Thai for “cool kid”, is the word that Prinya often uses to describe people with a cool fashion sense, so it proved a natural fit when they were trying to come up with the name for their brand. Prinya has used this hashtag on his Instagram account for years as it also rhymes with Thaita — the more popular abbreviated name for Thaitanium. Her husband is in charge of the design and material sourcing, while Rybena’s role is, in her own words, “to transform the paper into real clothes”. She monitors the production process, handles marketing activities and makes sure the clothes are something she really wants her kids to wear.

“If I can’t comfortably let my children wear it, it should not be sold to other parents. I pay attention to every single detail — the label, the zipper, the cutting and everything, to make sure children feel comfortable in it.”  The first official collection of DekTay was introduced in March this year, and they are working on the second collection at the moment. DekTay is available at selected Never Say Cutz branches, and has pop-up stores at Zen and Central Chidlom. Rybena said the biggest market, however, is online.

“Modern mothers like to shop online because it’s easy and they don’t have to leave their kids. We’ve had orders from all over the world, and they don’t even mind the high shipping costs. It might be too early to think about expanding overseas, but seeing how well-received we are, that’s definitely a potential next step,” confirmed Rybena confidently.

Her budding business takes a lot of her time, and now that her children are no longer babies, she is also ready to go back to work in showbiz. Being a mother, however, will always remain her number one priority.

“People always say the first years of a child’s life are the most valuable, but for me, every year, for the rest of my life, being with my children will always be the most important thing. I don’t want to miss a thing — there are so many precious moments. It’s really the best job in the world.”

About the author

columnist
Writer: Napamon Roongwitoo
Position: Former Guru section Editor