We discovered for the first time “Black Sugar” creation in 2017 at the MQ Fashion Week in Vienna.
I was totally absorbed in such a complex monochromatic architecture and Infinite possibilities of elegance. The style can be described as timeless couture which evokes the impression of an Asian/European clothing interplay: white shirts are re-interpreted with artful draperies, the cut of jackets and long skirts make think of crafts of French couture pattern makers, and skirt-trousers mediate the appeal of Asian monks’ clothing.
TechVangArt(TVA): The story of the artist behind the brand is unknown to the European public. Before you became a fashion designer, I knew you served as a government officer. So, how this big change happened, and Why?
Methawee Angthong: That was a long time ago when I was 26 years old. I had to work with the government because of my family’s value and hope. In those times, having stable work was a highly appreciated value for Thai people. And working as a government officer was considered a stable job, through which you could support your family – for example taking care of their health or paying for child tuition. Although interesting, it was not the job that made me happy. So, I bought a sewing machine to start doing what I really wanted. I was dreaming about starting a business with only one sewing machine, while a friend suggested to me that even if I have the ability to design, with only one machine I cannot run the business. That was the moment when I decided to quit from the government position and started a garment business, manufacturing and exporting girl’s party dresses.
TechVangArt(TVA): At what age did you make the first fashion collection?
Methawee Angthong: The first collection was made around 20 years ago; it was a charity fashion show collection. But BLACK SUGAR was founded in 2014. The first collection of BLACK SUGAR was launched in 2015.
TechVangArt(TVA): Your clothing creations are often a challenge that contains some provocative elements. You challenge women to rethink their age through style and uniqueness. In the campaign entitled “Black Sugar Make Over the project”, you proposed women the possibility to change their look. How many women had the courage to participate and how was it received?
Methawee Angthong: The campaign idea comes from my customer! Some ladies that entered in BLACK SUGAR shop, looked around, they said “Oh I like it very much, but it is too maximal I am shy to try it on”. So, I started to find women who thought like that but still were willing to try something new. I got around 40 ladies applying to join the campaign. I chose only 5 of them who have their own character included by The Oldest lady, Conservative lady who never tries on another fashion style, Plus size lady, The youngest lady. It is a message to tell that you can try on BLACK SUGAR whoever you are. Don’t need to be shy! All ladies who participated in the campaign loved to see themselves in another style.
TechVangArt(TVA): In many campaigns you use your own image. Why?
Methawee Angthong: Because “BLACK SUGAR” is the character of myself, and I have received very good feedback, customers like it. And it also saves costs.
TechVangArt(TVA): What qualities should have today a fashion designer?
Methawee Angthong: Be unique, be yourself, Do what you think and you like. Think differently.
TechVangArt(TVA): You travel a lot. Which country inspired you the most in your creation except Thailand? (and if as a result of these trips you created a collection)
Methawee Angthong: Many countries inspire me, it is more of a mix of images. And it also depends on the situation, sometimes I use images from different parts of the world. My favorite country is Morocco, which has complex layers of the architecture, and Japan, complex fashion layers.
TechVangArt(TVA): With the help of fashion, you made several campaigns? During the Covid period, you carried out a huge educational campaign through which you explained to the population the importance of the masks. Why you’ve made this decision?
Methawee Angthong: Because it’s a very important item to use in Thailand. You can’t get out of your home without it.
And I need the unique mask for my own use so I try out some patterns and produced it.
TechVangArt(TVA): Do you think that this Covid period will be reflected in your future collections?
Methawee Angthong: It would not be reflected in the future collection design but affects income and the collection size. Brand scale and manufacturing may be scaled down.
TechVangArt(TVA): A lot of plans were canceled, how did you face the situation? (what important presentations you had to cancel this year?)
Methawee Angthong: My show at BACC, Bangkok Art and Culture Center, was cancelled. I started learning to bake bakery reserving to be my second job if the fashion industry is not going well in Thailand. I have a plan to open BLACK SUGAR CAFÉ this year also.
TechVangArt(TVA): Now, when a lot of fashion fairs, fashion shows, production facilities are affected, do you think technology might help? What is your opinion about the digitalization of the fashion industry?
Methawee Angthong: Technology is especially important during this time. It is the only way to present your work to the public.
TechVangArt(TVA): What do you think will change in the fashion industry?
Methawee Angthong: Consumer behavior may change, the way we buy fashion items, also. The word “New normal” may affect the industry. New Items will be a part of your daily image.
TechVangArt(TVA): What do you think it would be helpful for fashion designers in the future?
Methawee Angthong: People can see and know the fashion news more easily. So, Collection launching, Selling or any promotion campaign could go directly to your customers.
TechVangArt(TVA): Did you use in any way technological solutions? Do you think that technological solution would be useful in the future (either in production, sales, presentations, etc.?)
Methawee Angthong: Yes I use them a lot. From the design process until the selling process. It’s very useful if you know it enough. I think it will get a lot better in the future.
TechVangArt(TVA): Tell us, your most stringent problem, technology could solve it? (we will not publish that!)
Methawee Angthong: Making patterns and prototypes was my big problem. But now I can solve it with the computer helping me to create and scale it.
More info about Black Sugar collection: https://www.blacksugar.co.th/