Where Is Whisky?

Yes, it’s Whisky without the ‘e’.

But that’s not what struck me after reading Bangkok Post‘s profile on Wachirapanee Markdee. It is the lack of real insight into the interviewee that stood out. Writer Samila Wenin attempts to have us believe that Whisky stays off the radar despite a high profile job. In his professional description for Portfolios.Net, he lists himself as creative director as well as fashion stylist. Despite work that is hardly hidden from the industry, we’re told that we “don’t see him at fashion outings or press presentation, except for the one or two brands where he takes a liking to the PR officer”. Oh, Ms Wenin, where have you been? Or have you not taken a liking to certain PR officers?

The stylist for Praew and such is no recluse of the Bangkok fashion scene. Khun Whisky’s name is mentioned as often as he is spotted. Even Ms Wenin later admits that “you can’t really say you’re in the fashion circuit if you don’t know Whisky”. But let’s believe her; let’s say her subject is characterised by “regular absences from fashion gatherings”, and that we’re not in the fashion circuit. That would mean Khun Whisky is unexposed, and possibly an enigma to us. If so, why are we no better at knowing this individual after this Interview piece ?

What we got, instead, are mentions—sympathy and admiration—of others: fellow stylist Joy Ananda, designers Platt Srilalittsoi, Taned Boonprasarn, T-ra Chantasawsdi, Jirat Subpisankul, Chai Jeamamornrat, and Chatree Thengha of the misleading label Shaka London. Khun Whisky goes on to describe the pitiable state of these fashion designers’ professional life: “they grew from doing contest collections to commissioned work before setting up their own brands. We’re not born rich and we have been struggling all our lives. Some of us are just kids from provincial towns”. This could also describe much of Bangkok fashion practitioners: makeup artists, hair stylists, and also fashion stylists.

In the end, while we know almost nothing of Whisky, we’re given a picture of working in fashion in this city. Creativity knows no provincial boundaries nor does it only acknowledge economic might. If creativity is to be seeded in Bangkok, the soil welcomes the disadvantaged. And if you persevere, just as Whisky (and his cohorts) did and still do, you too could be “Thai fashion’s conceptual experimentalist”.

Whatever that is, will the real Whisky please stand up?

Photo: Bangkok Post

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