I came to Bangkok expecting knock-offs and rip-offs but instead found a labyrinth of streets and stalls offering unique designer pieces at market prices.
It had been a few years since I last travelled to Bangkok and I’m not sure if it was an increasingly keen eye for fashion that had me spotting the latest trends on every corner, or if the city, like its Chinese neighbours, is adopting Western culture and fashion at an increasingly fast pace.
Opposite mega-malls Siam Paragon, Siam Centre and MBK, all home to international brands such as Chloé, Gucci, Jimmy Choo and Burberry, Siam Square is a low-rise, warren-like complex within walking distance of the Siam BTS station.
One shop in particular that caught my eye was Hot Choc Glam, nestled in Soi 3 of Siam Square in Bangkok’s central shopping district. Its designer, Poolpong Smittsarakarn, has gained notoriety for his sleek, urban designs. And with prices from 800-2,200 Thai baht (AU$30-$71, NZ$39-$93), the unique pieces are a steal.
Starting with just one shop, Smittsarakarn now has a store in the nearby Paradise Park mall.
It’s amazing how many clothes these small boutiques can cram into the tiny stores, but what is more amazing is that many of the clothes are actually hand-made in the stores.
In many cases, the sales desk doubles as a sewing area, cash registers sitting alongside a sewing machine or overlocker. Changing rooms double as storerooms for excess fabrics.
And while these young designers left me feeling inspired, I sadly left Siam Square, like most of my shopping trips, empty-handed.