Adisak Rojsiriphan is an important player in Bangkok’s fashion scene. With influences as varied as Frank Lloyd Wright, Charles and Ray Eames, Le Corbusier, and Philippe Stark, you wouldn’t be surprised to discover Adisak’s masculine fashions to have a firm basis of construction, a strong foundation over which to build a decorative façade of color, texture, and design. “My clothes are contemporary, but they’re classic designs that will never be out of date… they are made to last, and I use 8 stitches per centimeter, and no one else does that.”
As a young boy in Bangkok, Adisak became enthralled with fashion when he went to his mother’s dressmaker, and became curious as to how a paper pattern could be turned into clothing. The dressmaker taught him the essentials, and he began working for a tailor as a teen. Although his parents encouraged his fashion pursuits, he got his BA, from Bangkok’s Assumption University, in Business Administration.
In 1987, he opened a small shop on Rama IV’s Issara Tower, then the fashion hub of Bangkok, and he light-heartedly refers to his first collection as “quite messy — colorful, complex, with lots of detail.” Ornamentation elements in the collection included origami-styled pockets, and soon magazines were taking notice. After one and a half years, he perceived that Issara was starting to lose its luster, and moved his shop to Siam Square, which was becoming a center known for young designers. Soon, he launched his first show, a collection for women with mix-and-match patterns, held at the Oriental Hotel.
In 1992, he joined four other designers at the “Through the Power of Five” show at the Landmark Hotel, and received enough acclaim that he decided to become a full-time designer, with 70% of his production geared toward women. Two events soon temporarily derailed him, however. In 1994, Siam Center caught on fire, and his shop was closed for a year as the center was repaired. Then, in 1997, Thailand’s economic crash forced him to close his shop. For a number of months, he left fashion, selling jewelry in his mother’s shop, while continuing to amass his growing and notable collection of classic European furniture.
In late 1997, he decided to open his shop at Gaysorn Plaza. When asked how he could afford moving his shop to the glamorous shopping complex, he replies “I sold a lot of my furniture… and truthfully, I really miss my old pieces.” His fashions for men were in the classic palette of black, white, and gray, and he used high-end fabrics from Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Europe.
Today, Khun Adisak is one of the few designers working exclusively in classic men’s fashions, and his line includes classic, sport, and casual clothes. His background is tailoring, so if you’re a man with a traditional western build, he will make anything on display for you, fully customized, for the same price you’ll see on the rack (just make an appointment while you’re at the shop, and he’ll arrange a fitting.)
“All of my designs are unique, and I produce only eight to ten pieces of each design. What you see on my racks is what I have, as I do not have backstock. In Gaysorn, much of my clientele is not Thai, so I’m quite used to making customized sizes of what I have in the shop for visitors, who are generally larger in stature than many Thais. Roughly 40% of my business is custom.”
“I design for men, because women, especially ion Bangkok, have so many choices, and men do not. You can call my styles exclusive, but trendy, and affordable. I love the traditional English tailoring, Saville Row, the quality and tradition. I specialize in slender, European style fit, with a de-emphasis on shoulder pads, and men really like my low-waisted pants… if you’re big, I can give you a slimmer silhouette.”
“Much fashion is so trendy, it’s out of style very quickly. My fashions are meant to be timeless — they can be worn forever. We create clothes for every occasion, and love it when men look like gentlemen.”
In addition to his design and architectural influences, he has been heavily motivated by the philosophy of King Bhumibol, and his concept of sufficiency, which encompasses learning, self-reliance, and participation. “I have the conscience of the King as my rule, that everyone must do the best he can, within his limits, to be self-sufficient.”
Taking the King’s philosophy one step further, Adisak is planning a book that will teach Thai men the basics of fashion. “We’re not as educated as we could be, and today, Thai men don’t have a guide that gives them information on how to dress, or when to dress for specific events.”
It is at the nexus of trend and classicism, that New Traditionalist Adisak Rojsiriphan of Zenith, is evolving the concept of men’s fashion in Thailand.
Zenithorial, 2nd Floor, Gaysorn Plaza, Bangkok (BTS Chitlom Skytrain station. tel: (02) 656-1064.