Since we returned from our vacation to Los Angeles this past June, Tawn has been in the process of designing and producing his initial collection of women’s wear. It has been a challenge and an adventure as he locates vendors, deals with problems anticipated and unanticipated, and learns about how a fashion business is run.
They say that success is a combination of talent, lots of hard work, and a dose of good luck. Right now, we’re at a point on the road to Tawn’s dream of being a successful fashion designer where those three factors are coming together. It is a point that, years from now, we may look back on as the critical break that altered the course of his career.
A month ago, Tawn had the opportunity to meet Khun Kai, the man who established the first haute couture brand in Thailand some forty years ago. He continues to produce elegant dresses and wedding gowns that are highly sought-after. While helping a friend shop for her wedding gown, Tawn introduced himself to Khun Kai and inquired if he might consider taking Tawn as an intern. Initially, Khun Kai said he was not interested in having an intern.
A week later, though, Tawn received a call and was invited to Khun Kai’s studio. Starting the next day, Tawn listened as Khun Kai shared his insights on the fashion industry in Thailand and the challenges of running your own design studio. The day after that, Khun Kai explained that he was looking for a designer to help produce the Spring/Summer 2012 collection for “k and i”, Kai’s streetwear brand. Introduced two seasons ago, k and i has yet to establish a solid identity and find its market.
Out of the blue, Khun Kai asked Tawn to design that Spring/Summer collection for k and i. Returning home that evening, Tawn was understandably excited and a little stressed by the challenge. He worked late into the night, creating a mood board to capture his overall design inspirations for the collection and then sketched 48 rough looks to articulate how he thought k and i could best fit into the market.
With some feedback, Khun Kai approved the looks and after he and Tawn chose various fabrics, his in-house team of seamstresses began preparing prototypes.
The collection will show, along with Khun Kai’s “Kai” couture line, October 8 at Bangkok International Couture Fashion Week, sponsored by Harper’s Bazaar magazine. This is a particular honor as only four other brands will be featured, all of whom are well-established here in Thailand. As Tawn explained, these are brands he shopped when he was growing up, so to appear on the same stage as them is a rare privilege.
As you can imagine, Tawn is honored, excited, and quite anxious right now. While 48 looks have been completed, he continues to edit and make adjustments and is now working with stylists to help produce the look and the feel of the show. As for me, I receive a near-daily update on the experiences of working with a legend and the interesting dynamics that entails.
Of course, I’m very proud of Tawn, thankful that he has be given this opportunity, and look forward to sharing the collection with you in the near future.