Conversation with Thai, Trans designer, Tritti Tarkulwaranont
Thai designer Tritti Tarkulwaranont recently graduated from the Domus Academy in Milan. When asked why she name her brand, Dirtytris, Tritti describes because "all of my collections follow the same idea; seeing something in a dirty way". Having grown up transgender, she approaches the world with an open mind and prides herself on not being guided by trends, but following her own judgments. Here to speak about her graduate collection, Hand Me Down, made completely from deconstructed second-hand clothes, is an interview with fashion designer, Tritti Tarkulwaranont.
How did you know you were transgender?
I was born as a boy, however the more I grew up, the more I realised there was something different about me. I started to learn more about the world, and learned there was more than just these strict binary genders, there is something in between. That's when I realised that I was transgender.
How did you get into fashion?
In Thailand, there is this classic idea that if you want to become successful, you need to become a doctor and my parents really wanted me to follow this route, so I attended a science-focused primary school. But I couldn't deny my true passion for dressing up, especially when you are transgender, you often love glamorous things. So I started to study fashion on the side and lied to my parents about it. In Thailand, you go to a tutor in the weekend, so I told my parents I was studying science in the weekend, but I was actually practicing my fashion illustrations. I then chose to do my BA in Fashion Design in Bangkok.
What were your parents' reaction when you studied fashion design?
When I was in High School, my parents started to notice that I was doing fashion design on the side. My father asked me whether I really wanted to pursue fashion, but I told him of my passion for design and showed him that I could be successful in it. They had seen me drawing on walls since I was a child and so they knew fashion design had always been my dream, and that it was what I was meant to do.
What recent trends have you liked?
It is very different for me and my colleagues. My friends are very aware of trends, whereas me, I don't follow trends. I'm very respectful of myself; I don't care what people think about me - that what I do is outdated. In the future, when I look back, I don't want to have regrets. I want to be proud of myself and of the way I did things.
How is the fashion education different in Thailand than in Milan?
In Thailand, fashion is very strict, but when I moved to Milan I realised how the education is very open, the professors let you explore and experiment a lot more. In Thailand, on the other hand, there are very strict guidelines of what beauty is and this means you can't experiment in your own way. After living and studying here, I feel that people let you have your own freedom.
Tell me about your Collection “Hand me Down”, what was your inspiration to use second-hand clothes?
Living and studying abroad is expensive and it's difficult to get money. So when I had to make my collection, I had to find an effective way to get materials that would not be too costly. In Milan, you have so many vintage shops and flea markets. So I started to buy clothes from second hand shops and would deconstruct them, stripping them to just fabrics.
How many clothes did you buy?
A lot! I had mountains of fabric in my room and would mix and match different fabrics to see what looked best.
Tell me about the story behind the collection.
The collection is very personal. It's about an unhappy relationship, when you're with someone you love and he leaves you. The only thing that reminds you of him is his smell and his story. I linked this idea to second-hand clothes. They come from nowhere, but each item has a story.
Which garment from your collection is your favorite?
The flower one is my favorite. I used around 10 different flower garments from shirts and scarves, that I deconstructed.
How did teachers react to your collection?
Most teachers were fine with the technique I was using to create my garments, but one of them said she did not accept it. She said, I do not want to see second-hand clothing on the runway, to which I responded, you just wait and see. One of my first pieces for the collection was a black garment using all these different black belts, and then she actually wanted to buy it! When you do something, you have to believe in yourself and trust that you can do it, and not listen to other people who put you down.
If you could describe your brand as a type of movie, what would it be?
Neon Demon. For my graduate collection I used their music too. The movie is very passive aggressive, and that's the word I would also use to describe my collection.
You describe your inspiration coming from “Nudity, Fetishes, LGBTQ and Horror”. Is there a designer(s) you look up to that match your design aesthetic?
Ren Hang and Araki Nobuyoshi. They are asian photographers that take photos of flowers, but not in a typical beautiful way, but in a violent or sexual manner. As a flower is a symbol for femininity, such as an orchid representing the vagina, I like this idea as I like to experiment with dirty things too but link it to something more beautiful.
Why do you name your brand Dirtytris?
All of my collections have the same idea; seeing something in a dirty way.
If you could have any celebrity wear your pieces, who would you want it to be?
Bella Hadid. She is very mysterious and sensual, which fits with my collection.
What helps you find inspiration for your designs?
Firstly, I listen to myself, and take inspiration from my feelings and thoughts. Then, I find inspirations from museums and photography as it can define so many things, its not only what the photographer wants to say to you, its also what you want to do with it.
Would you want to move back to Thailand?
Having just come back from Thailand for vacation, I felt so much happier. There is so much positive energy from the people there, however I don't see my future in Thailand, I want to stay in Milan and fight for my dream in fashion.
Favorite fashion designer?
Difficult question, if I had to choose one I would say Shayne Oliver, the founder of Hood by Air. I really like his sense of creativity, it's very dark and brutal, but that's what makes it beautiful.
Want to find out more about Tritti? Check out her Ocotur.