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It's all in the packaging

Jan 16. 2012
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By Val Sarakitprija
Special for

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Two big names from the design and marketing world give local talent some tips for BIFF & BIL

Two of the biggest and most successful names in the world of fashion, Mikel Rosen and Lee Lapthorne, dropped into town last week to lead two special seminars and workshops as a prelude to the Bangkok International Fashion Fair & Bangkok International Leather Fair 2012 (BIFF & BIL 2012).

Hosted by the Department of International Trade Promotion (DITP) and the Ministry of Commerce, Rosen conducted a special workshop on display techniques for Bangkok’s fashion industry, drawing a packed house of upandcoming fashion designers, garment, textile and leather goods manufacturers who’ll be showcasing their creations at the fair, one of Asia’s biggest exhibitions for fashion and accessories that attracts buyers and fashion enthusiast from across the globe.

Rosen began his workshop with an inspirational talk about his background in the art and fashion industry. Like many other successful designers, he earned his degree in Fashion Design from St Martin’s College of Art, London. He began his career in graphic design and started drawing patterns. From fashions and textiles, he switched to producing outstanding fashion illustrations and eventually launched his own runway collection.

In 1986, he began doing fashion projects in Singapore and was one of the founders of Singapore fashion week. Soon he was consulting across Asia.

“I have a strong belief that Asia will take over the fashion industry over the next 20 to 30 years,” he said. “I see fashion on the streets, through culture and lifestyle. Fashion designers should find inspiration from what they already have, what already exists in their culture. They should take their inspirations from their country not Paris or New York. They should use their inspiration to create something excitingly new, not copied.

Rosen began his workshop by grouping manufacturers and fashion designers together, giving tips and ideas on how to display their products. He explained how to make products attractive and inviting to buyers. “It’s important to look outside the box, I know it is very hard to create something new but you can also reinvent from the past to create something new.”

He also talked about marketing and PR, stressed the importance of packaging and labels. “Go out and look at Bangkok’s architecture and transfer that into clothing labels,” he advised. “Don’t follow tradition.”

The following seminar, titled “Fashion trends for Spring and Summer 2013” was conducted by Lapthorne, founder and director of DOLL and On/Off, a creative events agency and consultancy that has helped showcase works of world famous fashion designers such as Preen, Jasper Conran, Karen Walker and Nicole Farhi. Lapthorne has worked with worldrenowned fashion designers to promote their work, covering all aspects of PR and marketing, production of fashion shows and online services.

Lapthorne offered his insights about the hot trends of spring and summer 2013. He gave a guide to the future directions of the fashion, manufacturing and export industries. The key trends, he said, are “Luxury, Individual, Handcrafted and Bespoke”.

“The high street shops, especially in the UK, are dying, as highstreet consumers are not spending money on clothes as much as in the past. Highstreet brands such as Topshop and Marks and Spencers are struggling in the UK. On the other hand, people who have money are looking to buy luxury unique items from individual designers.

“Textures and embroidery are becoming very fashionable, as people are consuming art and design more and more,” Lapthorne continued. “Mixed medium, such as fur and leather, is the new trend, and this can be seen on the catwalks of Saga Furs.”

According to him, individual buyers are now looking for collectable fashion items, with the rich, in particular, starting to see garments as pieces of art. “Mary Katrantzou is a great example. Her garments are sold as collectable items for about 9000 pounds (Bt438,000) each,” Lapthorne explained.

Lapthorne’s special seminar has given Thai fashion designer a head start on what he expects to see happening in the next 18 months on runways. With the help and guidance from fashion experts like Lapthorne and Rosen, it will be exciting to see what Thai entrepreneurs and designers from the textiles and leather industries will come up with for the BIFF & BIL 2012.

        outside the box

- BIFF & BIL 2012 is being held from June 27 to July 1, at Challenger 2, Impact Muang Thong Thani.

- For more information, call the Department of International Trade Call Centre, on 1169, or visit,


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