Some people leave the house without so much as a glance in the mirror. Others make a bit more effort: keep an eye on the latest trends and put some thought into what they wear. Then there are those who, day in, day out, without fail, distinguish themselves from the pack with out-of-the-ordinary outfits and a truly one-of-a-kind style. Thailand has more than its fair share of these eccentrically garbed mavericks. And guess what: many of them are men. We meet five of these dashing dressers to find out what floats their fashion boat—and simply to revel in their ever-so adventurous looks.
Al Akaphol Ruthaiyanont
“I dress according to my mood,” says 30-year-old stylist Al Akaphol Ruthaiyanont. A regular face in the field for many years now, Al makes sure he stays up to date with the latest trends—but that doesn’t mean he always follows them. “I can wear anything. I don’t really follow the seasons or trends at all,” he says. “I wear whatever I feel like wearing, as long as it is appropriate to the circumstance.”
He’s a fun character and this is reflected in his constantly changing style that mixes and matches different colours, textures and patterns. “I don’t think I dress over the top but sure, it can be seen as out of the ordinary,” he says. He doesn’t have a favourite colour, nor a favourite designer, perhaps because being a stylist requires being open to all kinds of fashion.
“Honestly, I don’t have a top designer because they all inspire me and I have a lot of respect for them,” he says.
Although Al is open to all sorts of fashion styles and can wear just about anything, there is always one constant that never changes no matter what he is wearing—he always wears a T-shirt inside. “I can buy clothes anywhere, from flea market to high-end stores,” he adds laughing. “Sometimes when I get bored of my clothes, I’ll pick up a pair of scissors and alter them myself.”
Maruwut Buranasilpin, also known as Mark, is the design director for one of Thailand’s leading fashion houses, Asava. Mark’s style is far from ordinary. “Honestly, my style changes all the time,” he says. “My inspiration mostly comes from fashion magazines. I have been collecting them since I was young and I always keep track of what different designers are doing.” He also indulges in going on a hunt for high-end vintage items every now and then.
“My style is freestyle,” he says with a smile. “Asava is minimal, polished and classy but for myself it’s much more free spirited. Anything I like I put on—I have even worn a dress before,” he laughs. “It depends on my mood and the occasion and timing. Right now I am really into Demna Gvasalia’s designs and the emphasis on big shoulders and turning the casual into something high-end, casual with a twist.” And when there is something he really likes from a runway that isn’t yet in the stores, he is more than happy to cut and alter an item of plain clothing and so turn it into the piece he fell in love with.
“I am always confident about my wardrobe choices and my look,” he says. “But then again, sometimes I look back and say to myself why did I wear that,” he adds with a laugh.
Who would he like to design for if he could pick anybody? “About six years ago, I created a dress made of Thai silk for HM the Queen,” he says. “Today, I would really love to have a chance to do it again.”
Better known simply as Peepy, the operations director of Maze Thonglor and former managing director of the now-defunct Hi magazine is someone whose unusual yet eccentrically fabulous style has gained him fame and fans even beyond our borders. A man with over 80 thousand Instagram followers from across Asia, Europe and the Middle East, he loves to shop in Paris for extravagant pieces but also enjoys mass-market shops like Zara. He is often seen in all sorts of over-the-top attire, from kimonos to thobe-like gowns, and his wardrobe is a seemingly endless Aladdin’s cave of highfashion items—including high-end bags. “I can’t live without my bags,” he says. “And I always have to wear some form of jewellery. If I go to an event, I will wear absolutely everything, necklaces, bracelets, rings, watch and so on.”
But as Peepy points out, his signature look doesn’t just stem from his clothing but his entire appearance, from head to toe. “I think my style is very much me and that includes the whole package, my hair and my beard,” he smiles. It comes as no surprise that someone so flamboyant would have red as his favourite colour, and while he is often spotted in an array of colours, and adorned with jewellery, he is a stickler for dressing to suit the occasion or circumstances. For now, with the aim to complete a full-year of paying his respects to our late King Rama IX, Peepy’s outfits are mostly in black.
Peepy reminds us there will always be negative comments from critics and that he used to pay attention to them. Not any more—now he focuses only on the positive ones. “They lift my spirits and allow me to keep going.”
Mark Thawin, owner of the Ultimate Hair Solution salon, has a thing for patterns, particularly Scottish tartan. “I love to combine a bunch of patterns in my outfits,” he smiles. “I like the contrast of colours and patterns. Fashion is about passion and love and my own personal style comes from my mood. I have many styles but whatever I wear I will add a little Mark twist to it. If I wear military patterned clothing, it will be military Mark-style. And of course, it has to match my hairstyle.”
Some of his favourite brands include Chanel, Saint Laurent, Dior, Balmain and Bulgari. “My everyday look has to be a bit over the top, that’s my signature look,” he says with confidence. The fashionista is always up to date with every high-fashion runway. “I do my homework,” he says. But what Mark really cannot live without are his glasses and his hats. “I have almost 300 hats at home,” he laughs.
Mark spends at least two hours getting ready each day and you probably will never see him in a casual look. “I don’t want to look like others,” he says. “I don’t like simple things.”
“I am a big fan of Comme des Garçon,” says Vasu Sakulanunt, CEO of Leon Mode. His closet is, he admits, filled with the brand. Vasu’s style is very much influenced by Japanese fashion and what he is passionate about are styles and designs that distinguish themselves through deconstruction and irregular shapes and forms. “There are many Japanese designers that I am fond of, for example, Jun Watanabe and Mihara Yasuhiro,” he says. “Right now I love Yohji Yamamoto Y’s designs but I collect a lot of Rick Owens as well.”
Rather than physically going shopping, Vasu has found the convenience of online shopping extremely appealing as of late. But when he does travel, his favourite shopping destination is Tokyo, followed by London.
Unlike our other interviewees, Vasu’s favourite colour is black. “Dark, no matter the look, fits many occasions and, when I go to meetings, I still have to look appropriate.” Things are very different at home. “I often look a wreck,” he says with a laugh.