What’s the motivation behind Nong Rak?
The idea that style can’t exist without personality, fashion is absolutely nothing without diversity, and what you wear doesn’t define you—but that you will define what you wear, and how others perceive you.
How we dress ourselves is an irreplaceable outlet for self-expression, and that expression seeps into creativity and art. It digs itself deep into society, since self-expression is such a fundamental motivation of humanity. It’s a powerful tool that can be honest or manipulated, straightforward or questionable, but inevitably will always filled with an array of relatable emotions.
How does Thai culture and history tie in to your products and approach to design?
We are both haunted by the spirit of Bangkok, and our individual and collective yearning to return. Thailand is overflowing with life, and with that comes such a unique culture with endless depths. There is a bright idea in every sight, sound and smell. It’s something that many countries have in common, but for us, a lot of the US is practically devoid of it. Our time spent separately and together, in not just Thailand but also other parts of the world, breathes itself into Nong Rak every day. Colors, music, art, crafts, celebrations, folktales, religions, relationships, romance, community, all of it. Nong Rak is constantly striving for cultural stimulation in any form, and it’s from that which everything else flows easily.
Do you see your work as being a response to social and creative values in Thailand or America? How do the contrasting aesthetics merge in your work?
America is this fiercely independent country, founded on the idea of the individual, while Thailand is, like much of Asia, more passive, placing high importance on community, family, and the collective voice. We try to bring all of it together as cohesively as we can in some of our more creative work, but it’s a constant evolution trying to balance the two since they are polar opposites.
I have a love for certain Americana—quilts, the atomic household, canned food, and train tracks, but as a person who was raised absorbing the cultures of others, I got seriously lost in that melting pot mentality. After Home and I met, and I saw him embracing and using his culture to create, I was completely moved and I started to question what American aesthetic actually is, since the majority of it roots from other cultures that were forced to assimilate. As a result of that, we try so hard to create a space where everything can happen, but where simultaneously each participant can feel free to be themselves, be their roots, or to play with a completely different expression. We are incredibly lucky to work with people from many backgrounds, and it's always our intention for Nong Rak to be a place for the shining, authentic self, and all the histories and cultures that comes with that.