I doubt I’ll be getting all of these in my Christmas stocking this month, but this serves as a visual representation of the things I wish to slowly acquire next year. With discipline, proper saving and non-stop snooping for great deals, I’m pretty sure these babies will be mine.
Le Gramme Sterling Silver Cuff. My wrists are adorned with a variety of leather and fabric bracelets and this sleek, understated cuff from French label Le Gramme is the perfect piece that will ease me into metal accessories.
Bialetti Espresso Maker. I don’t think coffee was ever made to come in 3-in-1 packs, so this classic Italian espresso maker is sure to make drinking coffee much more enjoyable. It also teaches discipline — from prepping it for the stove to carefully measuring coffee grounds and water.
Vintage Rolling Bar Cart. Not only will this look elegant in any corner of the living area, it will also force me to learn the classic art of mixing drinks and invest in quality alcohol. I’ll invite you for a Negroni once this happens.
I’ve been to Bangkok three times this year — once in February and twice last month. You might say that it’s a little excessive, and you’d probably think, “Don’t you get sick of it?” The answer is a resounding NO. Recently, Bangkok has proven to be more than just a quick, cheap getaway destination. It’s a place that recharges me, both spiritually and creatively, despite the heat and constant madness.
I made a conscious effort to avoid the touristy spots whenever I’d find some time to myself and this has proven beneficial. By doing so, I discovered places (with the help of some friends, of course) that celebrate the city’s creativity, whether it’s through design, retail or food. These places are hidden, but not inaccessible; hip, but not pretentious; beautiful, but not overpriced.
1/F Yada Building, Silom Road, Bangkok
Nearest BTS Station: Sala Daeng
Hidden in an unassuming alley lined with tiny Japanese restaurants, Everyday Karmakamet is a lifestyle store that celebrates the beauty of everyday life.
Karmakamet is known for its range of locally made products, such as essential oils, handmade soaps, artisanal candles, room scents and body sprays. Take your pick from row upon row of sweet smelling options. I went for the Egyptian Fig and Tobacco body spray, which goes for 550 baht each.
Aside from their own label, Everyday Karmakamet also stocks various local brands, such as Summerson Bags, which I recently featured.
THINGS TO MAKE AND DO
THE BLOC, Ratchapruk Road, Bangramad, Talingchan, Bangkok
Located within THE BLOC, an artistic compound made up of re-purposed container vans, Things To Make And Do is a store known for its home decor. While the Scandinavian design aesthetic is present in almost everything in the boutique, all of it is 100% Thai made.
149 Sathorn Soi 12, Silom, Bangrak, Bangkok
Nearest BTS Station: Chong Nonsi
The brunch scene, like anywhere else, is alive and well in Bangkok. Leading the pack is Rocket Coffeebar, a chic cafe in the charming neighbourhood of Sathorn.
The food is also worth raving about. The omelette topped with herbs is simple, filling and tasty, while the eggs benedict with chorizo is a good choice if you’ve got an afternoon of shopping ahead of you.
To be continued.
I’m tremendously happy that one of my favourite multi-label boutiques from Hong Kong, kapok, is doing well in Singapore, a city where trends come and go extremely fast. On 8 November, the second kapok Tools branch opened at the new Robinsons Orchard, featuring a wide selection of niche brands from all around the world, adding another layer of excitement to Singapore’s vibrant retail landscape.
This time, expect a more premium selection of brands, which include modern classics like Common Projects, Mark McNairy, Mismo and Norse Projects. Alongside these labels are new arrivals into Singapore, such as Island Slippers from Hawaii, Aurlandskoen from Norway and Crash Baggage from Italy. Other kapok favourites like Kiel James Patrick, Seventy Eight Percent and Sandqvist bags are also available.
Make your way down to kapok Tools today and discover a refreshing way to shop!
Visit the new branch at Level 4, Robinsons Orchard, 260 Orchard Road, Singapore
Photographs courtesy of Working Unit
Started by three stylish friends from Bangkok — Pumintr Dusitanont, Patanin Ngamkitcharoenlap and Thammatat Asawathepmetha — Summerson bags are the ultimate companion for the stylish city slicker. The boys come from various backgrounds, ranging from product design to interior architecture, and came together to start the bag brand that does away with bells and whistles, celebrating clean lines, smart details and utilitarianism instead. And in a city like Bangkok where excess and maximalism is quite common, the quiet elegance of Summerson is a much needed addition to the city’s burgeoning and inspiring design scene.
Summerson’s bestseller, the Mr. Smith tote, is a study in timeless design, which features four colours (off white, navy, black and military green) that easily matches and complements any outfit. Mr. Smith is also the perfect tote for carrying around daily essentials or the ideal carry-on bag for quick weekend getaways.
Want your own Mr. Smith tote? Visit their Facebook page and place an order. Each tote retails for 1,790 Baht plus 100 Baht shipping cost per piece.
In case you haven’t noticed, there has been a shift in the shopping patterns of discerning individuals. From simply buying luxury goods, they now care about the stories behind the items they purchase; they want to know the provenance behind the materials used; and ultimately, take comfort in the fact that what they bought was made with pride and knowledge.
Enter Haystakt, a new global destination for people who care about the origins of products. The website houses carefully chosen, well-designed, quality goods from a wide network of independent makers around the globe — from Asia, Europe and the US. Notable labels include TIMO, ATEM, KEDAI BIKIN, Container and The Workshop Gallery.
Founder and Director Joel Leong, who hails from Singapore, started Haystakt in late 2012 with the ultimate goal of reintroducing a human touch to the marketplace. He shares, “What the Internet has done is to allow the niche to surface. Today, purchasing a product is about understanding the process and personalities behind it. Haystakt allows artisans to showcase their work and connect with people easily.”
On Haystakt, people interact with Makers by advocating or commenting on their work, sharing feedback on how their products are used, customised and owned. In addition, products come to life with videos and photos of the artisanal process, educating and inspiring consumers while fostering a virtual community spirit.
In order to create a more holistic experience, Haystakt introduces the inaugural issue of The Makers’ Journal, a monthly online-only publication that focuses on Making in Asia, as well as the people involved, products and processes. In this issue are interesting features that include designer profiles, a unique shopping destination in Bangkok, the tea drinking tradition and more.
Maison Kitsuné’s offerings for F/W 2013 are hardly complicated. There are no elaborate silhouettes, no gimmicky cuts and is free from synthetic materials. Instead, gentlemen are getting classic, tried and tested pieces, such as shawl collar cardigans, peacoats, sport coats and varsity jackets that will look relevant season after season. As expected, colours are muted, save for a peacoat and cable-knit sweater rendered in the most elegant shade of cerulean.
Staying true to the brand’s identity, everything is styled in a way that calls to mind the elegance of the ’50s and ’60s, while still exuding a collegiate preppy look that Maison Kitsuné does so well.
Some might say that guys get the short end of the style stick because of the limited amount of accessory options. Aside from footwear and belts, there are watches, the occasional bracelet, neck and bow ties, pocket squares and not much else. This may be a problem for gentlemen who have a penchant for peacocking, but for the understated male, it’s probably a relief.
Given the meager options in accoutrements, men can buy fewer pieces of the best quality options and use them time and again. This saves the hassle of constant and unnecessary purchasing. When it comes to neckties and pocket squares, Gerald and Diana of Vanda Fine Clothing know a thing or two about quality, as they source their fabrics from the best suppliers across Japan, the UK and Italy.
Handmade in Singapore, Vanda Fine Clothing products are crafted with a combination of traditional techniques and carefully selected materials. Wanting to create pieces that will last the test of time without the insane price tag was the impetus for starting the brand and almost two years later, the business has steadily picked up the pace.
However, it’s not just about picking up the first necktie or pocket square you see. Gerald shares, “Neckties and pocket squares are for complementing a look and they shouldn’t take over your entire ensemble. You wouldn’t want to be remembered as the paisley tie guy or the pink pocket square guy. Which is why when you buy either of the two, you want it to be as unobtrusive as possible — particularly when you’re a first time wearer. Once you’ve gotten used to them, that’s the time when you explore other colours, prints and materials.”
Diana adds, “When folding a pocket square, simply fold it neatly and have the edges peek out discreetly. It doesn’t have to be a big, elaborate pouf, which is commonly seen in some fashion magazines. You want it to look as if you didn’t try too hard.”
So if you’re starting to embrace the concept of smarter dressing, take into consideration the accessorizing tips shared by Gerald and Diana. At the end of the day, while accessory options are still limited, never underestimate the details. The best quality pieces that you can get your hands on have the power to pull your look together. (And don’t try too hard.)
Vanda Fine Clothing
Blk 1014, Geylang East Avenue 3
+65 6842 2124