What’s The Deal With Thakoon’s Full-On Reinvention?

Photo: Courtesy of Thakoon.
As you're probably well aware by now, many designers have been tinkering with the traditional show schedule format. A number of labels have dabbled in the "see now, buy now" model for the past few seasons, whether for their entire collections or just a few pieces. These brands include Alexander Wang, Tommy Hilfiger, Michael Kors, Prada, and Tom Ford.
But Thakoon Panichgul is perhaps making the most dramatic move of the entire New York Fashion Week calendar. For starters, the designer's eponymous label isn't actually on schedule this season (nor was it last season), though some sort of IRL event will likely take place this fall. Panichgul is going the direct-to-consumer route, and he's not just selling in-season merch, as that already pretty tired-sounding "see now, buy now" term details.
Oh, and you can only buy Panichgul's new look on his website, which launched today, and in a forthcoming NYC store that'll open next month. It'll be the first retail location for the designer. As for the clothes? The first drop (featured in the following slideshow) skews toward crisp, neutral-hued, everyday basics — versus the designer's bright, fancy cocktail attire, worn by the likes of Michelle Obama. However, eveningwear is indeed expected to be in the mix down the line. The brand's adoption of the direct-to-consumer model is a marked shift from the usual roster of department stores and boutiques that typically stock RTW brands like Thakoon.
These changes aren't coming about arbitrarily. Last year, Hong Kong-based investment firm Bright Fame Fashion took a majority stake in Thakoon. Interestingly, the company had been searching for the right American designer for this (Bright Fame Fashion is owned by 22-year-old Vivian Chou, daughter of textiles billionaire Silas Chou, whose Novel Fashion Holdings Ltd. company has invested in major brands such as Michael Kors and Tommy Hilfiger).
Termed "designer fashion now," new-wave Thakoon collections will roll out approximately every two weeks, instead of every few months. This means the pieces can be even more timely and tightly themed than a typical "fall" or "spring" collection. To wit: The first collection, dubbed "Fall 1," is specifically focused on "all the essentials needed to transition one's wardrobe from summer to fall," per a rep for the brand.
"I had been feeling a bit of a frustration in the past couple of years. I was in control of what vision I was putting out onto the runway, but after that it was almost fair game for anybody else... It was me looking at the landscape and saying, ‘What does Thakoon stand for? It doesn’t stand for much.’” Panichgul told Business of Fashion last month.
Will this new model work out? And will other contemporary brands experiencing stagnancy (or muddled identity) follow Thakoon's lead? Ahead, take an exclusive look at the "Fall 1" lookbook, plus the full first drop of reinvented Thakoon.

More from Designers

R29 Original Series