Young jewelry designers from Thailand are attempting to break into the U.S. market through a new trade show called “Thailand Jewelry — 10 Imaginers.”
The show, being held at 401 Broadway in lower Manhattan through Tuesday and sponsored by the Thailand Ministry of Commerce, features 10 handcrafted, whimsical and colorful collections, and seeks to attract buyers from upscale department stores and boutiques. The 10 emerging Thai designers typically work in colored stones, silver, gold and brass, and some also incorporate 3-D printing, wearable art and aromatherapy. The designers, none of whom currently wholesale in the states, would generally retail from $200 to $500 per item, though some of the products are priced much higher.
“These collections are not available in New York. But there’s more to them that make them special. There is something unique about these collections, and each have their own twist on design,” said Napadol Thongmee, commercial consul at the Thai Trade Center in New York. He said the designers would also show at the Gems and Jewelry Fair, Sept. 7-11 in Bangkok. He said fine jewelry is a $1.4 billion industry in Thailand.
“I design for women who like unique style for special occasions,” said Chutapat Nivasratana, whose Pilantha brand is inspired by the dok mai wai flower, which is a central part of Thailand’s horticultural tradition.
“I make playful, kinetic jewelry,” said designer Pasu whose collection is called “It’s Alive.” He designs in brass and silver and has, among other items, pendants that resemble Da Vinci-inspired flying machines and have flapping wings.
Kittisak Teatasin designs a collection called Defy which features rabbits, moose heads and other animals including one pendant depicting butterflies that when viewed from a different angle resemble skulls.
“I like to transform fantasy into reality,” said Jittrakarn Bunterngpiboon, who uses computer design for her crystal and acrylic jewelry pieces for her Jittrakarn collection.
Other jewelry designers displayed are Sarran Youkongdee, who uses recycled silk, linen and cotton to create pieces that are subtly infused with perfume scents, and Anek Tantasirin of Arquetype, who handcrafts masculine, structural rings in sterling silver and gold plating for the “modernista,” he said.
There are also collections from Basic Teeory, Caso, Mafia Jewelry, and Ornaments & L’Or.
The DITP is helping the designers market their jewelry accessories in the U.S., and to train them in the design, branding and production to match the demands of U.S. buyers. Prudence C of New York and KWM Exclusives were contracted to instruct the selected designers on jewelry products best suited. As part of the program, during their stay in New York, the designers will have a “curated mentorship moment” with Prabal Gurung, the Singapore-born designer who was raised in Kathmandu, Nepal.