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Cross Cultural and Colorful Fashion

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Thakoon Panichgul’s 2012 autumn/winter collection. Photo from The Guardian.

Designer Thakoon Panichgul is the head of the fashion brand Thakoon. He is an American fashion designer who was born in Nakhon Phanom, Thailand. Raised in Nebraska, Thakoon is an adult cross cultural kid who has based his brand in New York City. The ultimate goal is to market to the modern consumer. With that, Thakoon is a strong believer that fashion and design are not a luxury and should be easily accessible. 

Cultural Background of Thakoon

Thakoon Panichgul lived in Bangkok for 11 years after being born in Thailand. Eventually moving to Nebraska with his family. He was raised around a mother and grandmother who were seamstresses and has had a passion of fashion design since he was five. Having that knowledge and exposure influenced him to get into the industry and develop a love for it. Once he was old enough to work and receive an education, he expanded his reach and exposure around the states. Further making him an adult cross cultural kid. He studied specifically in the African Studies Center at Boston University. Then going on to the Parsons School of Design. 

Thakoon’s kimono inspired dresses. Photo from Mood Fabrics.

Design Inspiration and Influences

There are many influences and cultural aspects within Thakoon’s designs and vision of a brand. He has aspects of his Thai and Chinese exposure with the inclusion of kimonos and silk oriental textiles. The use of vibrant colors within his designs come from his exposure and education from African studies. In addition, he utilizes the westernized cultures in the United States and modern fashion to cultivate a look that is bold but wearable for consumers. He takes different visual appeals from his cultural upbringing into his designs. Including different airy and whimsical looks to sporty looks. The whimsical and organza aesthetic coming from classic Thailand culture. Along with, the sporty coming from the United States, along with being apparent within modern global looks currently in style. 

In addition, he has soft and feminine elements that make the items more wearable. Therefore, adding to the versatility of his pieces and completion of the collection for his modern target market. Incorporating and combining these various elements creates the element of choice and variety. There is variation of cultural appeals within the pieces. Ranging from colors, textiles, particular stylistic choices, and cultural pieces. The variety within Thakoon’s collections allows for the freedom to choose and expand on current styles. In addition, they provide different takes on cultural looks and style them in modern ways for all cultures.

Pieces from Thakoon’s Collection. Photo from LinkedIn.

Thakoon’s Design and Cultural Impact

Thakoon is a designer that emphasizes a flamboyant, colorful, but still modern approach to fashion. It is to add to the wardrobe and emphasize it. He has an eye for bold patterns and colors, but also has feminine and soft textiles to accompany more rigid styles within his brand. Furthermore, this also continues into his more muted and minimalistic designs in his line. His Pieces are carefully and delicately constructed to coincide with one another with other pieces in his collection. This has allowed for a wider reach to many cultures and markets because of the simplicity of the pieces. Along with appealing to these differing cultures with the modern twists on their cultural pieces.

Furthermore, there are political influences that coincide with the cultural factors. Many of his bold designs have been worn and are admired by celebrities. Although, one of his most significant times of press exposure was when Michelle Obama wore one of his colorful dresses to a Democratic Nomination. To add, Thakoon has endorsed and created his own political merchandise. The piece being a sweatshirt saying “Unity over division” for the Biden Harris campaign. This influence from the fashion industry and Thakoon’s vision creates a cultural change in the political environment, as well.

2013 Resort Collection. Photo from Life of Ellie Grace.
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