Up-and-coming Thai designer Peace by Silsupa has taken Bangkok’s fashion scene by storm since launching her fashion label here a couple seasons ago, becoming synonymous with A-list celebrities at major red carpet events around town. Peace by Silsupa is everything luxe, feminine and fierce, so we spoke to the designer about how she got started.
How did you get started with your brand?
I graduated from the famous Art Institute of Chicago and then went on to complete my internships in New York for couple of years to get my foot in the door. I gained the most from working for a high-end luxury brand, Marchesa, where I saw first- hand how much hard work is put in to make a collection. Then I realised that I could very well start a brand on my own for myself, so that was when ‘SILSUPA NY’ was born. Our first collection was launch in New York City at the Coterie Trade show, followed by a show at NYFW. It was so well received by the press and customers. And in between seasons, I would sneak back to Thailand for a short vacation and that’s when my mother encouraged me to launch another line here. That was how ‘Peace by Silsupa’ started.
What were your biggest challenges you had to face bringing your business to fruition in a new city?
There were a lot of difficulties when I started Peace by Silsupa. The language barrier was a big one for me as I wasn’t used to the technical terms used here in Bangkok. I also had no idea on how to deal with fabric sourcing and seamstresses. We went on to change so many teams for seamstresses and vendors, but that is inevitably the same problem everyone faces starting a brand in Thailand. I think it was also the lack of the right local connections because I’d been living in the US since a very young age. It was hard to know who to turn to when I had a problem.
The best moment you had when you knew you accomplished your brand was….?
The best feeling is when I get to interact with my return customers. I like to hear why they come back for more and to see if they understand what we were trying to communicate through our clothes. Now, we have lot of customers who are very loyal and supportive to the brand. That’s what the most important to me as a designer.
What kind of a designer are you?
I am very personal. I do my collections with inspirations that are all close to my heart. Recently, when I moved back to Thailand, I did a collection that was inspired completely by traditional Thai uniforms and patterns. Not only because I am Thai, but because there are so many thoughtful details that were put into one garment that would have otherwise be overlooked so I chose to accentuate those details in my collections. I also feel proud because being a third-culture kid — as I’ve lived abroad for so long — I might have lost touch with the Thai culture and this is a way that I can reconnect to my roots, my history…and who I am.
What do you think it takes to be successful in the fashion industry?
It’s very important to be yourself and be clear about who you want to be. For me, it’s never about the trend. Trends don’t work well with just anyone. So, you have to be yourself and that way, you will be able to create something exceptional and different. By being different, that will set you apart from the rest of the other designers in this huge industry.
How do you usually spend your (little) free time?
I travel a lot. A LOT! I think I spend about 80% of my free time on traveling. I like exploring other provinces in Thailand because they are all individually unique. I also travel abroad quite often. I tend to go to the countries that are rich in culture. The beach and hiking in the mountains are my favourite, somewhere where I can clear my mind without a lot of human interactions. That’s a true holiday.
Who is your muse or your biggest inspiration?
My biggest inspiration is my mum. She is the kind of person I want to be: able to juggle the work and family life in perfect harmony. My clothing is about the confident women who are capable of working and having responsibilities whilst not falling short of in the family department. I believe women should be delicate, feminine, and gentle no matter how strong on the inside. And my mum is exactly that! I want my clothes to reflect those qualities and speak for these kinds of women.
Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?
I think I will be doing what I do now with maybe a more in-depth concept and designs. Doing these different collections is almost like soul-searching for me. So I think I will be here, making an even more ‘about me’ kind of collection.
Favourite shoes/accessories to wear with your clothes?
Absolutely naked high-heel sandals! The shoes that only have a strap going across at the front and show most parts of your feet — they go with anything. My favourite colour is nude because all my clothes are pretty minimal, I wouldn’t want anything to overpower that.
If you could be granted one wish, what would it be?
That would be my ability to work with my team remotely! If I could work from my beach house or somewhere in Switzerland, that would be perfect!