Good Vibes

Strongthe welcomes you to a fashion wellness retreat for FW22
By Bailey Slater | Fashion | 14 January 2022
This article is part of Fashion Week – London, Milan, Paris, NYC

Welcome to the Strongthe wellness retreat, a spiritual wonderland where the treatments are necessary, and the fashion is oh-so-good. In a time where health is increasingly tantamount to wealth, FW22 sees the Thai-designer fashion up an antidote to the chaos of Covid by building a collection that finds strength in weakness, and beauty in the everyday. 

Raised in Bangkok to a split religious household, Strong Theveethivarak graduated from Central Saint Martin’s MA fashion course in 2017. Making his mark on the London menswear scene soon after, Theveethivarak carved out his own design niche by fusing a penchant for physically-inclusive design with the visual staples of his Thai heritage. “Growing up [there] affected me a lot, especially in the way I visualise things,” he says. “Waking up on Sunday going to a Catholic church, and ending up wrapping colourful fabrics around the tree at the Buddhist temple on the same day is totally normal for me.” 

From centipede printed headscarves and talismanic cross-body’s to spiky trousers and layers of draped tailoring, the designer’s menswear contorts the formal and athletic style staples of the past decade and imbues them with a new destiny, inspired by the great Japanese minimalists of the 1980s. Setting aside some time before fashion week, we catch the spiritually-led designer in a moment of peace, delving deeper into his world of contorted sashes and asymmetry.

GALLERY

On his beginnings in fashion…
“Growing up my mum always asked me an opinion of her choice of outfits, helping her dressing up was fun for me as a kid. I think it grew on me before I even realise it. I studied communication design before converting to fashion but the topic that I choose to work with was always fashion-related, I guess I was just organically meant for this.”

On choosing menswear…
“I started with Womenswear initially but felt trapped. I just think when I picture something that I would wear it is a much clearer picture for me – that’s why I converted. There are so many areas in menswear that are fun and challenging, and that’s what I want to explore with my work.”  

On shifting gear since graduating…
“Since graduating I’ve been doing small projects, collaborations and figuring out if I wanted to set up my brand straight away or find a job. The answer is if not now, then when? The first thing I had to do is to find a way to get the visa to come back to the UK. The whole visa process is very soul-draining and stressful, I’m telling you. A good lawyer will save you a lot of time and energy…”

On the Strongthe man…
“Someone that is fun, strong and enjoying their life. Anyone actually, I feel like my clothes are very versatile, you don’t have to wear a full look to become a Strongthe man, I want Strongthe to be one of your lucky charms, carrying it anywhere you go.”

On his designer influences…
“I would say the Japanese minimalist movement in Paris in the 80s (Yohji Yamamoto, Issey Miyake and Comme Des Garçons’ Rei Kawakubo). It was a big change to the world to see the new vision of beauty, breaking the old boundaries and making people question fashion. To see how they twist the world through their works is very punk and entertaining, they set new standards that truly changed fashion forever.”

On the wellness trip concept behind his latest collection…
“It stems from getting homesick as I wasn’t able to go back to Thailand during the pandemic, with the peaceful wellness trip beginning to play out as the main visual and context for the collection. From jumping on an aeroplane to arriving at the meditation centre, I even made a Power Nap Bag, a travel neck pillow as a bag that you can sleep on. The silhouettes reference floating Buddhist nuns when they practise their in-water meditation, the clothes become wet, the water drips and the fabric swirls during the event, which is a meditation with stones to boost up your good energy.”

On his ‘physical impairment-inspired design sensibility’…
“I’ve spent a lot of my childhood in hospital back and forth due to my asthma and my mum was always too protective of me, so it was something I’ve seen a lot and auto-save in my memory.”

Discover the rest of the Strongthe world on Instagram, or his webstore.

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