New Tawn C Flagship Store in the Works

Just over a year after opening his first boutique at the Central Chidlom department store, Tawn is close to opening his first flagship TAWN C store at Gaysorn Plaza mall in Bangkok. This stand-alone store will offer him greater control over the space compared to the boutique in the department store. He will have a locking front door, the ability to play his own music, and won’t have employees of other brands traipsing through his space on their way to and from the stock room.

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The design for the store was done by our designer friend Ble, who designed the boutique and our condo, too. The feel of the space will be very modern but sophisticated, with walls divided into large pixels with molding. It should be very nice.

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At this point, the hope is that the store is ready to open next week. The picture above is from a week ago. The big question is whether the carpet is ready for installation on time. I suggested that Tawn should do a photo shoot with his models in hard hats in the construction zone of his store. He didn’t think that was a good idea.

 

Pulling an All-Nighter to Open Tawn’s Boutique (Updated)

Updates below. In about an hour, Tawn and I will drive to Central Chidlom, one of the most prestigious department stores in Thailand. We will arrive just as the store is closing for the night and in less than eight hours, with the help of a contractor and his crew, will install his first boutique. The previous occupant of the space will be moved out and their decorations demolished in less than two hours.

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The remainder of the night will be spent installing the decorative items, shelves, display cases, lighting fixtures, and all the other pieces needed to create the retail space and project the Tawn C brand image. Our friend Ble, a well-known interior designer here in Bangkok (he also designed our condo’s remodel) did the shop design and will arrive at 6:00 am to help with the final styling before the 10:00 am opening.

It will be a long night, but it is exciting to see two years of hard work finally turn into something real. Now, let’s hope we can turn it into something profitable, too!

Update – 5:20 am

Am back at home for a little bit after a night at the department store. Some moving people are supposed to show up in ten minutes to pick up some chairs from our living room. The chairs will be used in the store until the correct chairs that our designer ordered, arrive.

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The deinstall of the previous tenant’s decorations ran late because of some stone tiles adhered to one wall. We insisted that they needed to be removed because the dimensions of our cabinetwork would not allow for that extra two centimeters of thickness on the wall. By 12:30, our workers started carrying cabinetwork into the space and assembling it.

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After taking pictures of the crew installing the paneling on the front column, it occurred to me that it was facing the wrong way: it should be turned 90 degrees clockwise so the short panel that is visible in this shot faces the left of the picture. Tawn brought this to the workers’ attention and they eventually moved it. Then they discovered that due to incorrect measurements, the front riser on which mannequins will stand is five centimeters too long and intrudes into the aisle.

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The workers focused first on installing the rear cabinetwork and, once complete, turned their attention to resizing the riser. The mirrored borders were installed last and the worker was polishing them and peeling off the protective layer of plastic on the laminate.

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Just before leaving the store – about 4:30 am at that point – the workers had disassembled the riser and were manually cutting it (and the metallic edging) to size with a hacksaw. Tawn warned them that the quality of work had to be perfect. We’ll see how that turns out!

After the movers take the chairs, I’ll drive back to the store with some items that the designer and Tawn can use to dress the store. What time do the coffee shops open?

 

Tawn Makes Pineapple Fried Rice

The evening after Andy and Sugi’s wedding, the newlyweds were off at a family dinner so Tawn and I invited Andy W and Kenny over to our condo for dinner. Sugi’s family had sent us home the night before with a pair of very ripe Maui Gold pineapples, so Tawn offered to make pineapple fried rice.

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Chef Tawn busy in the kitchen. We had to buy a few items such as the raisins, the pack of which I carried with me back to Kansas City to leave with my sister’s family, since the friend we’re staying with in San Francisco doesn’t like raisins.

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Dinner started with a fresh mango and pineapple smoothie. Healthy treat to whet the appetite.

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Filling the hollowed-out pineapple with the fried rice. The top shell is placed over the rice and then it is baked in the over until fragrant.

A short video of Tawn removing the top of the pineapple!

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The finished product! It was really tasty.

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For dessert: green tea ice cream.

 

Covering Tawn

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It’s immodest to brag, but I just had to share this with you because I’m so proud. This is the cover of the February issue of Travel + Liesure magazine’s Southeast Asia edition. It features one of Tawn’s outfits and was taken at the Naka Island resort in Phuket during a December photo shoot for which Tawn was the stylist.  I think it is beautiful.

Hopefully, within about two more weeks he’ll be ready to launch his brand and I can share the website and more photos with you. Tawn leaves this evening for another shoot in Phuket, this one for five nights.

 

Tawn C – First Collection Photo Shoot

At one point in time, mine was the exciting life filled with ever-changing adventures and Tawn was the one who went to the office every day, living a life of nine to five drudgery.  Nowadays, as he is moving towards his dream of being a fashion designer, his life is the eventful one and I’m fading to a quiet support role.  The latest big event was a photo shoot of the first collection on his own label, Tawn C, to create a “look book.”

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As I understand it, a look book doesn’t necessarily have to display every outfit in the collection.  Instead, it is meant to convey the overall feel of the collection, to tell the “story” of the woman for whom the collection was designed.  Tawn will use the look book to pitch his collection to prospective vendors including some of the large department stores here in Bangkok.

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Tawn called in a half-dozen people with whom he has worked on other events, assembling a talented but reasonably priced team to assist with styling, make-up, and hair.  Our “annex” – the studio unit adjacent to our main condo, was turned into the backstage area.  Needless to say, there wasn’t a lot of work I could do other than to prepare the snacks to keep the talent satisfied.

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The setting for the photo shoot was out unit, which not only saved money but also matched the style of Tawn’s collection.  Above, photographer Siwanat Phangbunkumlarp directs the models. The model on the left is a Russian with whom Tawn worked at his student fashion show.  The model on the right is Thai-German and was added later when the Russian woman’s twin sister was no longer available to do the shoot. 

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Khun Siwanat did a very detailed job, having scouted the location in advance, discussed the overall themes with Tawn, and plotted the look and feel of different shots.  It ultimately took something like 10 hours to shoot the entire sequence, but the results were very nice.  Here are some of my favorite shots.  These are pre touch-up, as the versions that Tawn will use on his website underwent modest Photoshopping.

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Stay tuned for more updates on the adventures here in Bangkok as Tawn pursues his dreams and Chris supports him.

 

Tawn’s Collection: K and I Spring Summer 2012

As I had mentioned in a previous entry, Tawn had the good fortune to be invited by Khun Kai, owner of Thailand’s longest running couture house, to design the Spring/Summer 2012 collection for his streetwear label, K and I.  After nearly a month of frantic work, the 48 looks were presented on Saturday October 7 at Bangkok International Couture Fashion Week, sponsored by Harper’s Bazaar.

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Behind the scenes, Tawn adjusts the fit of one of the finale dresses on his model.  A group shot of his models, one of whom used to be the tenant of the second condo we now own.  Below are the 48 looks, roughly in the order in which they appeared on the runway.  The only comment I’ll provide in advance is that Tawn designed the outfits, but collaborated with Khun Kai on the selection of fabrics (Kai does a lot of lace).

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Tawn walks down the runway with a model who is wearing his final look, a beautiful lace dress with body suit.  K and I’s mother brand, Kai, is famous for its elegant lace and custom bridal gowns. 

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Afterwards, Tawn stopped for interviews with several journalists.  I’m looking forward to the next round of magazines to see what the critics have to say about his collection.  The next step is to translate these designs into actual rack-ready garments.  At the same time, Tawn is finalizing his first collection of his eponymous brand, Tawn C.  The photo shoot is Monday and hopefully those will be ready for production soon, too.

It was less than a year and a half ago when Tawn decided to go part-time with his job in Public Relations and follow his passion, starting with attending fashion design classes.   He has had some amazing breaks and I’m proud, too, of all the hard work he has put into this.  Without a doubt, he has much more passion for this line of work!

Tawn’s Big Break

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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.