Thakoon Panichgul took a breather from preshow overdrive to field some questions from WWD. Just last month, Michelle Obama wore the designer’s floral Radzimir kimono dress for her husband’s acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention. In addition, he has signed to do Target’s next diffusion line.

This story first appeared in the September 9, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

WWD: What is the most nerve-racking aspect about fashion week?

Thakoon Panichgul:
Not having time to get a haircut.

WWD: What was the most valuable lesson you have learned in the past year?

T.P.: Go with my gut.

WWD: What do you wish people understood better about the way you work?

T.P.: It is multilayered, especially in this day and age, being a young designer.

WWD: How did you find out Michelle Obama would wear your dress on the Democratic National Convention’s closing night?

I found out while I was watching it on live television.

WWD: Which of your skills as a fashion editor [at Harper’s Bazaar] served you well as a designer?

T.P.: I realize how important fine-tuning and editing are in the design process.

WWD: How do you measure success?

T.P.: I measure it on a personal level based on my personal goals and the expectations I set for myself.

WWD: Does being independent allow you to be more nimble in this economic climate or is it more challenging?

T.P.: I really believe that everyone has to be mindful during this economic period, whether you are independent or backed by a large group.

WWD: Are you in talks with anyone about buying your company?

T.P.: Luckily, we have some very strong supporters that have been with us from the beginning. Together, we are always discussing new ways to grow the business.

WWD: Any plans for freestanding stores? Secondary lines? One-offs?

T.P.: My own store would be a dream. I would be able to create my own entire world.

WWD: In another life, what would you be?

T.P.: A beekeeper.

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