Column: Human/ Kanchana
Subject: Sudaporn Jiranusakornsakul
Kanchana Shanatepaporn, the founder of BWILD ISAN for sustainable fashion path
Chompoo (Kanchana Shanatepaporn was born in Udonthani and has moved to Khon Kaen Province. After her MBA graduation from Khon Kaen University, she decided to take garment construction classes to run the business of her husband’s family. She would like to know and understand about the business. When she started to run the business, she learned and fell in love with it in 2007.
She gathered her team and start her small tailor shop ‘By Heart’ where they designed and processed wedding dresses and gowns. For 15 years working at By Heart, Chompoo has met many Isan craftsmen who wanted to work and live with their families in their hometowns and those who has just graduated and wanted to work at their home. After realizing this problem, she got an inspiration of starting another small business that she can create a space for local creators and craftsmen to work proudly and be able to live in their hometowns with their families.
ปี 2019 ‘BWILD ISAN’
‘BWILD ISAN’ was officially founded in 2019. The goal of the brand is not only to make the highest profit but to make Isan more valuable. The business is the community of local designers and craftsmen who belive that they can cooperatively create different valuable products from the same theme. Furthermore, the it can also be the place where Isan new generations can express themselves through their works, but they are still required to have standing points, reasons, creations and people and societies as their final destinations. Today, Chompoo will take us back to the past when this geniune Isan brand first started. She will also let us know what her team and her are working on and what are their planing and expecting for the future of BWILD ISAN, the sustainable fashion brand that is growing along with people, community and her beloved country in this interview column.
It started from the crisis. After having enough experience and gaining more knowledge in runing the business and branding, Chompoo was confident that she could lead her team to the final goal. Unfortunately, the team faced up with the first tough obstacle, the world crisis event COVID-19 when most businesses were unconciously frozen. BWILD ISAN whose products are about fashion which was considered unneccesary stuff during the crisis when many peoplw were fired from thier jobs and different kinds of business needed to seriously adjusted their structures. Nevertheless, with the belief of making the brand that is valuable and will still exist in people’s minds, the small brand will survive if we can find the right point of self estimation. To illustrate, we don’t need to be ready to start doing something, but we can just start from the small things we can at the time. BWILD ISAN started from the courage of changing ordinary Isan materials which are valueless in other people’s views into special and valuable products. Everyone in the team cooperatively works by sharing their different abilities with local craftsmen. This cooperation is from the two different generations.
“The brand was first founded in 2019 and Covid crisis entered Thailand in 2020. At that time everyone might have the same question, “What can I do with this situation?” Although the situation was scrareful, I realized the truth and was aware of the difficulties people aroud me were facing of. It was not only me, but it was the whole country and the world. Then, I recalled my consciousness and thought of what I could do during this bad situation. I did not think how I could survive. On the other hand, as a 15-year experience Isan business woman, I thought that if my business was still running, I could support and save people around me. It was better than just to hug and comfort myself and my family and let other people face up with the situation themselves.”, said Chompoo.
After realizing that, Chompoo and her team started to create their first collection, Wild in the City. The collection is their trial and error of leaning and working cooperatively between designers whose favors and abilities were different until they got the product lines including patterns on Mudmee silk, the drawings on scrafts, clothes, fabric, perfume, handbags and ceramics.
The first year of BWILD ISAN passed with the arrogant feeling because the first collection got a very warm wecome since it led us the the Best Collection Award from the Qurated Fashion Incubation Project 2020. On the other hand, we started to realize that we could not produce many products anymore in our second year. That is because we need time to tell the story of each product. The less time the story of each product can be told, the less valuable the product is. We then slow our pace and tried to find our right pace. It was the time that we could train ourselves to deeply look at how Isan being is. It was like we had more time to come back to our home and admire what Isan has, so we could thoughroughly tell the story about Isan via our products in Ant Colony collection. The beauty of Isan summer is presented through the products in the collection. Although the ground is dry and full of cracks, the beauty is hidden there. The collection is related to real Isan way of life. We won Thai Designer Academy Award 2021 from this collection.