When I arrived at the opening party of MobF on the 4th floor of Siam Center, fashion-stylist-turned-drag-act Art Araya and celebrity model/make-up artist Ma Ornapa Krisadee were doing their comedy routine. What intrigued me wasn’t the lacklustre performance or the predictable kratoey cheekiness, but the choice of the two ladies to headline the evening’s show. How do two mature faces of Bangkok’s entertainment scene represent a store that’s supposed to entice those under 25?
Dubbed as “Thailand’s first multi-Thai brand fashion store”, MobF is a meeting point for the nation’s “young Thai designers and brands”. Young brands I did see, but not all the designers behind them are young! Youth is the only theme discernible as most of the clothes are so alternative and extreme that very few working adults populating the real working world can find something to buy and wear if not hanging out at RCA or Siam Square.
According to BK Magazine, the store is “modelled after Colette in Paris”–an assertion as bold as those colourful Isaan-bound buses! It would be interesting to know how many who have visited the three-floor French emporium of major cool (but really a magnet of not-so-cool tourists) at the corner of Rue du 29 Julliet and Rue Saint-Honoré would agree.
While MobF may position itself as the first in our city, elsewhere it’s really an old retail concept, and has more in common with London’s Hyper Hyper in the ’80s than today’s Colette. Individual brands are allowed to set up their own space they see fit, allowing, in many cases, the lack of budget to dictate their visual merchandising. There’s a market vibe to it all, not unlike places where sellers set up stalls. As one skeptical voice put it, “it’s Chatuchak with air-conditioning”!