Most little girls have a thing for dress-up. But few get to wield their designer dream by opening up their own boutique while still in school.
Growing up in Thailand, Pim Sukhahuta, designer for the offbeat line Sretsis, did lots of the dress-up thing with her sisters before shipping off to Parsons in New York City. It was during her junior year in 2002 that the designer got the fated call about her own line along with her own shop. "I had an opportunity to get a space at Gaysorn [an upscale shopping mall in Bangkok]," recalls the designer. "For any fashion student, that's a dream comes true." Pim enlisted her two sisters for help running the biz as well as coming up with a name. "It's Sisters spelled backwards," she says. Predictably, the name has had a bonding quality: Her sister Kly is in charge of PR, marketing, and international accounts, while Matina takes care of accessories. "We collaborate on designs and concepts," says Pim. "Without them, there would be no Sretsis."
A sense of playfulness (a unifying theme from childhood the sisters share) buoys the brand and translates to each design. "My first collection was called Heart," says Pim, "The playful but sophisticated character of that collection has remained, but the line has also evolved in terms of the techniques and interpretations." Sretsis's most recent season was inspired by the chaos that Bangkok experienced during a series of bombings last year. "I wanted to somehow [reveal another side] of it and escape through the fantasy world of fashion."
To that end, fall's collection, Agent S.R.S., Episode: the Spy who Kissed Me, is a cross between "mod smart agent and sexy mysterious spy," which means cape-like trench coats lined in black-and-white checks. The pattern is repeated in a button-down skirt with deep pockets and a wool-lannel trapeze dress with matching deerstalker cap. "In terms of inspiration, it could be anything occupying my mind at that moment, then the prints and fabrics are developed exclusively for the collection in relation with the concept." And no secret agent would be complete without a pair of black-rimmed glasses, a necessity that appears not only as an accessory but also as a print on a silk chiffon shirt, dress, scarf, even with a trompe l'oeil effect on the pocket of a mod, off-white mini dress. "I see my customers as someone a sense of rebellion inside," Pim says. Secret agents unite.
Sretsis spots the wayward ingénue in each of us.