However much we travel, we often find that the best things are found right at home. For her new collection this season, Janesuda brings together the joys in both travelling and our native land. Forming a connection between traditional Thai craftsmanship and chic modern resortwear, Janesuda presented her ‘The Northern Heights’ collection with an enchanting outdoor fashion show in the courtyard of Raya Heritage, a gorgeous earthy boutique hotel in Chiang Mai.
Few designers can so skilfully balance style, comfort, sustainability, and cultural appreciation in their fashion. With a beautiful collection of clothes fit for travel and resorts, Janesuda simultaneously presents us with a deep story about the power of appreciating where we come from. Her show at Raya Heritage created one of the most magical moments in Thai fashion.
[All images courtesy of Janesuda]
“Looking around Thailand, you see there’s so much beauty right here”, says Janesuda Parnto, founder and designer of her eponymous label. “I love it because local artistry is always something quite unique and proud to be different.”
Janesuda’s new Fall/Winter 2019 collection is something both very new and old. Continuing her famous brand of chic modern womenswear, the label is now reaching back into not only the heritage of fashion but of Thailand too. Collaborating with skilled weavers in villages around the country, all the pieces in this collection have been handcrafted using traditional methods. It reaches back into a time before industrial manufacturing — a time when it was just us and our art. Presenting her latest collection outdoors amongst the natural beauty of Chiang Mai was the perfect celebration of this new-and-old, “back to nature” era of Thai fashion design.
The earthy, minimalist colour palette of whites and browns makes Raya Heritage a perfect setting for Janesuda to present the collection.The fashion show saw models weaving in and out of the clean white pillars of the beautiful courtyard, with relaxing music and a countryside post-rain freshness in the air. It seems a perfect match for Janesuda’s designs — both expressing soft, comfortable tones with a rustic charm and understated luxury.
But it’s not just the aesthetics that matters to Janesuda and Raya Heritage. The boutique hotel is a gorgeous, exquisitely charming retreat that places special emphasis on local produce and eco-friendly practices. And with every one of its 30 looks, Janesuda’s new collection also took great care to work specifically with natural sustainable materials and local weavers from Thai villages, particularly those from the Pakthongchai District in Nakhon Ratchasima. “I love local craftsmanship that’s indigenously expressive,” says the label’s eponymous designer. “It shows great skills and techniques, as well as an appreciation for unique beauty”.
While maintaining the unique craftsmanship of the villagers, the cotton-and-silk blend fabrics used in the collection also features contemporary patterns and eye-catching prints from natural dyes. Janesuda tapped into a wide range of well-preserved Thai natural colourings, fresh golden shower pods giving the golden brown hues; Shellac providing the light pinks, and Khe trees bringing beautiful golden yellows to the fabrics.
The fashion show at Raya Heritage was also a special collaboration with Thai jewellery brand PACH.TACH. The soft cottons and linens were elevated to an easy-going, earthy glamour with matching gold and pearl necklaces, earrings, and bangles that were each shaped like leaves and branches.
At the close of the fashion show, Janesuda gave us her personal thoughts on ‘The Northern Heights’. “This collection was the one I’ve found the most difficult, tiring, and painstaking — but also the most fun to do”, she tells us.
“It took a lot of energy and patience to find and collect all the right fabrics from the local villages, while also working with the natural dyeing processes to get exactly the colours we wanted.” Fashion designers can often be repelled by the great challenges, risks, and costs of working with natural resources and handmade textiles. But for Janesuda, this was part of the fun.
“The dyeing process was so unpredictable. When you rely on natural materials, the results might not come out the same every time. But, for me, this challenge added a unique charm to the process”.
“The production rate was also another challenge. The fabrics are entirely handmade so productivity totally depended on the conditions of the weavers. Sometimes they’d get sick or have muscle ache and the production has to be on hold. You do have to be accommodating and patient.”
The “back to nature” concept is something Janesuda hopes to inspire the rest of the fashion industry, drawing more attention to the wonders of local Thai wisdom and materials. This appreciation could create more jobs and employment for the villagers, while expanding horizons for her and her customers. She says, “We learnt so much from each other. I think it’s great for Thais to be working together like this”.
Janesuda, ‘The Northern Height’s is a truly special collection. It speaks to the modern woman who is still very much in touch with her origins and her innate spirituality. To wear Janesuda is to have a nose for adventure and a passion for exploration, all while keeping heritage close to heart.
Shop the Janesuda Fall/Winter 2019 collection now online or in stores. Locations: 1/F Siam Paragon, Rama I Road, Bangkok 10330 (10am-8pm). 1/F The Emporium, Sukhumvit Road, Bangkok, 10110 (10am-8pm). 2/F Central World Zen, Rama I Road, Bangkok, 10330 (10am-8pm).