I travel a lot lately– so much more than I used to. If I travel for a job, I am usually left with very little alone time to shop. I take my time and explore the city or town instead of go shopping. I guess this comes with age somehow– that I feel I need to know my surroundings more than I feel that urge to drop some money for something new– be it a bag, a pair of shoes, or some new clothes. I go through online shopping sites every so often to surf and to shop, also because I don’t need to fill up my very limited luggage space (remember, I am not a light packer haha).
On my last trip to Bangkok, I was able to pass by 2 malls to go around and look for unusual things to get– souvenirs and such as well as accessories and apparel from local designers, as I know Bangkok has so much. I went to Siam Paragon, a mall which houses a lot of the designer brands I’ve come to love, as well as a pretty awesome food court. I never bothered going to Central Plaza because I ran out of time. I came home with pretty amazing (and funny) hair accessories which I shall debut on my Snapchat (THE_BAGHAG) and on my Instagram (@thebaghag) in due time (you’ll laugh, promise). It was also my first time to finally see clothes from the brand called Self Portrait, by Malaysian designer Han Chong, who has been in the business for over a decade but has only been getting a lot of international press about his work of late (well, over a year ago).
I have long admired the clothes of Self Portrait. It was in Siam Paragon’s department store that stocked his clothes. Natch I had to try some pieces on, including this top which I fell in love with 😉
Problem is, it was a size too big and there was no other size available anymore. The dresses were tight on me– I mean haha come on, what do you expect, I’ve been stuffing myself with food from this awesome restaurant across the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok called Never Ending Summer at The Jam Factory (thank you Erika Aquino for recommending it).
I feasted on all of these dishes. I highly recommend the pork slices (on the right side of the photo) as well as the soft- shelled crab with curried egg. OMG both were sooooo good.
I also super loved the Roast Duck Curry with Fruits. I don’t like eating rice but wow, I really had four servings of rice just so I could enjoy the curry to the fullest!
I loved the restaurant so much that I came back on the 2nd night of my stay haha– and I am making this a mandatory stop next time I come back to Bangkok again.
Oh where was I… oh! Haha sorry I got so distracted with the food (my mouth is watering as I type this and as I stare at the food photos above). Anyway, I ended up empty handed and without any purchases from Self-Portrait. I wanted so badly to try something that fit me because I have always been iffy about buying clothes online, having had bad experiences on the way they fit me. And I had wanted something from Self- Portrait, but it was not meant to be.
Another mall stop during my Bangkok visit was to Platinum Mall. And it was there that I was so shocked to see a shop selling unlabeled and very similar (if not the same design) Self- Portrait dresses. The dresses were priced about 3,000 Thai Baht each– about US$90– vs. Self- Portrait dresses that sell for $500 +/- a piece.
Doesn’t that dress above look exactly this Self- Portrait one below???
I guess except for the exact shade of periwinkle, the dresses were really alike. I was going to take more photos but the lady who was handling the store saw me and told me to stop. I also saw this exact style and color below (which was also available in white and in green):
And this one:
I didn’t have time to go around different floors and stalls of this mall but this was the only shop I saw carrying the exact styles. I do feel bad for the designer and the team behind Self- Portrait because they did look like copies of the designer’s work, only of course of lower quality, but I mean dresses are dresses. They’re not the same as bags or shoes. And hate to say it, but they’re so much cheaper and more affordable to many. There is no infringement of the label (i.e. logo or monogram or even the name) other than design. I wonder how easy or how hard that would be for Self- Portrait to prove in the court of law, should they take retailers/ distributors to court. How do you peeps feel about this?
But really wow, I wish I had more time to explore Bangkok and the different malls. I have not really gone clothes shopping in awhile– and I was really looking forward to see what local designers had to offer. I guess I’ll really have to make another trip to this city soon. But haha, I better make sure I already have a proper exercise routine that I adhere to (and use the hotel gym) or else I’ll come home a blimp hahaha.
And yep, that was Bangkok in a nutshell 🙂
P.S. Another BKK tip: Calling uber drivers were a pain in the neck– the time stamp and estimated time of arrival as indicated by Uber BKK was completely inaccurate. I’ve had to cancel my rides a few times and I ended up getting charged for them (until I complained, and they reversed them). The drivers also didn’t know how to speak English (the ones I got anyway), which added to the difficulty when I had to make overseas calls to ask them how close/ far they were from where I was supposed to be picked up. So best to queue for a taxi. And oh yeah, the traffic gets pretty bad too ;(