I have no idea why the verb rather than the noun headquarters was chosen as the name, but I found the oddity rather pleasing, just as I would with those Japanese brands that prefer to use the quirky over the proper. Noteworthy this may not be for the regulars of Siam Center, the moniker will soon fade from Thai fashion’s memory when Headquarter eventually closes. The rumour has been circulating for a while now and the prolonged end-of-season sale seems to corroborate the hearsay. Is this the final leg of one of the most known boutiques in Bangkok, or, like rock bands, a parting of members to do their own thing? And when opportunity permits, convene some time in the future?
Headquarter, unlike so many of the Thai stores that have taken root in Siam Center, and until the arrival of MobF, is a collective. It is assembled by Jirat Supisankul, Chai Jeam-Amornrat and Patsarun Sriluansoi. The trio’s coming together to form Headquarter is unusual in Bangkok since the egos of the Thai fashion design community do not readily make peaceful bedfellows.
When the boutique opened in 2004, the multi-brand approach offers shoppers not only three in one, but also the buffet of styles not usually found in single-brand stores. It is this variety as well as clothes done with thought and love that set Headquarter visibly apart from the rest. They were not trying to be the next Greyhound.
Although the three designers had their own distinctive styles, what they produced were not garments that sought to outdo each other’s. They were neither devoid of flair or overwrought with flamboyance—a careful balance of the traditional with the playful. There was a synergy that lend the collections a certain refinement, yet tinged with street vibe, the quality Thai fashionistas equate with credible chic. In other words, you could be charmed.
Perhaps it was due to the early enthusiasm that typically accompanies a new venture that saw the designers excite a dull Siam Center, but when the initial waves of fresh designs ebbed, Headquarter was just one of the many pebbles on the overpopulated shore. Sometimes you’d pick a rounded stone that caught your eye, but you wouldn’t bring it home; you leave it where you found it. Just because it glistens, does not mean it is smooth.
Not only did Headquarter’s concrete floor and bare walls soon look like others in the neigbourhood without a budget to boast of, the shop, too, was no longer the little hub in which once desirable clothes were gathered. The allure that once found its centre here vapourised. Behind the neon light that announced it’s name, the collective’s design sparks have petered out.
These days, Jirat Supisanku’s label Sunshine (from his nickname) has too discernible a whiff of DSquared2 (or is it D&G?). Chai Jeam-Amornrat’s eponymous Chai label starts to sport details and finishes you had seen in Lanvin or CDG. And Patsarun Sriluansoi’s mouthful Realistic Situation begins to take on the DNA of Rick Owens.
When other planets beckon, it is perhaps best to leave the mother ship.
Headquarter, at point of writing, is at 3/F, Siam Center, Shop 320, Rama 1 Road