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The new online store bringing emerging Thai fashion to Australian streets

IMAGE VIA @BAAN.STORE/INSTAGRAM

WORDS BY GITIKA GARG

“A fun shopping experience for customers to get a hint of what Thai pop culture is.”

In a multicultural place like Australia, fashion is constantly drawing inspiration from different cultures and backgrounds, bringing together the East and the West. It’s an appreciation of creativity and style that transcends time and space. And for many people navigating a bicultural identity, fashion can be a way to bring both their worlds together. 

One such creative who has done exactly this is Melbourne-based Thai photographer Fern Arisara, who brings her love for Thai clothing to a global platform with her latest project Baan. Launched last week, Baan is a new online store dedicated to showcasing the work of emerging Thai artists and designers.


Discover more online retail experiences in our Fashion section. 


The store’s curated selection is all designed and made in Thailand, bringing a glimpse of Fern’s homeland’s bustling street style scene to our shores. There are bold, playful prints, sheer silhouettes and retro graphic tees, from a range of innovative designers.

I spoke with Fern about what Thai fashion is all about, her reasons for bringing it to Australia, and some of the challenges she’s encountered along the way. 

Hi Fern, tell me a bit about yourself and what you do. 

I’m a freelance photographer, based in Naarm, Melbourne. I have been taking photos for a really long time and don’t really know when I started but I have been doing it professionally and full time since 2018 so it’s been three years. 

I also do creative mediums during my spare time like making rugs, crocheting and painting. I started making tufted rugs during the first lockdown in Melbourne, you know we were all stuck at home and could not go out and take photos so I started picking at other stuff that I liked doing. 

 

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A post shared by baan (@baan.store)

Tell me about Baan and what inspired you to start it.

Baan is a retail store that curates clothing, accessories and design created entirely by creatives. It is a space that is kind of like a fun shopping experience for customers and for people to get a hint of what Thai pop culture is like. 

I started honestly because I missed wearing Thai clothes for myself. I came to Melbourne six years ago so I usually go back to see my family once or twice a year and that is when I do the most shopping because I tend to like the fashion over there. I always get excited by how fun and innovative it is so I thought it would be cool to give those designers a bit of a platform to show people what Thai clothing is like.  

A lot of the time, when I wear clothing from Thailand, people will ask “Oh where did you get that from?” and it would be so cool if I could walk on the streets here and see a random person wearing a brand I’ve known for a really long time. I think the art scene in Thailand and mainly Bangkok is also very different to that in Melbourne, it is very versatile in a way and I thought that would be cool for everybody to see.

 

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A post shared by baan (@baan.store)

What was it like to bring designers from Thailand to an Australian audience? 

It was interesting because I graduated from high school in Thailand and I came straight to Melbourne so I haven’t had much experience working with people there. Their working culture is very different to what [it] is here so it was all new for me.  

I have always been the in-house person who does all of the creative things but I have never really done shipping or wholesale or marketing, so it was a lot to learn but it was very fun to learn these things along the way. Through Baan, it would be cool for my friends in Thailand with a brand to get more customers because some stores don’t have online stores. 

What have been the challenges in putting this project together?

Approaching other brands was a big part. I know a few creatives from Thailand who have their own brands so that was the easy part. I could talk to them as a friend and offer them something as much as them giving me something back. The main challenge was around creating a brand and building it by yourself which… involved taking a bit of a risk for me. 

It’s a lot to learn even just sitting down and writing branding strategy or marketing and how I wanted to go about it. Usually, I guess I am so used to people telling me here is the brief, but this time I made the decisions on how I wanted it to exactly be. I want Baan to be a fun thing for me to learn along the way as much as other people exploring Thai culture with me. 

 

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A post shared by baan (@baan.store)

What is the message you want to send across through Baan?

Baan is basically a fun and creative space and I don’t want it to just be people buying clothes. On our website, there is a section called ‘editorial’ where you can check out other Thai photographers’ work. So it is not just selling clothes but a whole Bangkok art scene on the website. 

What do you hope for the future of Baan?

Right now we only have a few brands in the store but hopefully, we can have a growing community of all Thai designers who are able to showcase their potential and what they have to offer. Hopefully, in the far future, it would be cool to host a store that not only curates Thai designers but all Asian designers.

It is a place to come and have a look, see small businesses and discover a brand that maybe you had no idea about who actually does a really good job designing new styles.

You can discover Baan and shop from its curated selection of designers here.

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