Luxury Brand SHALAJ Is Next Up On Our 12 Days of Christmas Spotlight

Day 7

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And on this seventh day of Christmas our true love sent to us seven swans a swimming, six geese a laying, five golden rings, four calling birds, three french hens, two turtle doves, a partridge and a pear tree and… SHALAJ, a luxury brand poised to take the world by storm. Created by Shalaj Poonyarit, the brand is inspired by his experiences in life around him to create artwork and clothing lines that express his perception and emotion.

SHALAJ utilizes premium materials to create clothing that is more than your average garment—including special details such as the twist hardware.

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We had the pleasure of speaking with the SHALAJ team back in October, and now is the perfect time to drop the interview as a part of our 12 Days of Christmas series. Learn more about this very cool brand below.

A Conversation with the SHALAJ Team

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ONE37pm: What is your thought behind the launch of SHALAJ?

SHALAJ: I was always fascinated and took serious interest in fine art. Back in the days, I would stay in the museum for a whole day enjoying the artwork. Fine art always acted as a fuel to burn my passion inside my heart. One day, when I was drawing my work on a canvas, a sudden thought had come crossing by. I started thinking that the reason I created fine art was since I want to share my emotions and experience with a variety and numerous people. I wanted to present an experience to the people who see my art, but a painting or a sculpture of mine could be kept by only one person.

I dearly loved what fine art can do, but presenting those emotions and experiences to only one person was what I was looking for. I thought to myself what I can do in order to resolve the problem that I was encountered with, and that is why I came up with fashion. Everyone wears clothes every single day, and I decided that I would use garment fabrics as my canvas, and will create fine art into the garment for numerous people to experience my artwork. An ordinary concrete, dull street will turn into a museum, when my people start to wear SHALAJ’s garments.

ONE37pm: What was the thought process of bringing fine art and street wear together, since from the definition of these two, it stands on a very opposite side?

SHALAJ: These two identities are completely different, but have one connection to each other. Both fine art and streetwear brings out power. What I adore is power. This is what I concentrate on when I design in my brand. It always needs to be powerful and strong and has to give out a strong identity. In numerous fashion styles, streetwear is my top choice, but there are always some minor details that I wasn’t too fond of when it comes to street wear.

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The mood that streetwear gives it is powerful, but doesn’t relate too much with beauty and artistic value. That is the main reason why I tried to combine fine art with streetwear. A style that shows beauty of the design, but gives a strong powerful identity at the same time.

ONE37pm: The naming of each collection seems very different compared to other high-end brands? What is the purpose in these names?

SHALAJ: Fashion trends move so fast and it is a repetitive movement. Also, when you launch a brand, you feel like you’re holding a treasure box with flowing ideas about design. Those ideas never last forever. In fashion, we can’t repeat the same idea over and over. We need to create something new and it needs to be good and have some distinctive value.  All the collections from SHALAJ are created from my past experiences and emotions that I have felt before. While people live their lives, they constantly feel something and experience various scenes. 

For me, I put those experiences, thoughts, and emotions and create it as a design. In each of the collections, we separate the designs by looks as well. Those looks are minor experiences that sum up to be the big picture of the collection. The looks are the chapters of the book and the collection itself is a book. SHALAJ is a fashion brand dealing with luxury garments, but we consider ourselves as storytellers as well.

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ONE37pm: The price range of SHALAJ’s garments seems not so friendly, is there a reason behind the price.

SHALAJ: There are three main reasons for the pricing of our brand. First, since we consider garments as a canvas, the artwork would totally give off a different impression depending on what you drew on. For example, you can’t compare an artwork done in a well-made canvas from a painting on building walls. Same thing in fashion. I want to present to the people the experience and emotions as close as possible to how I have felt in my past.

In order to do that, not only should we use high quality fabrics, but fabric that matches the design. People will be able to feel and experience more directly when the artwork and the fabric matches harmoniously. Also, SHALAJ is a streetwear brand. Most importantly, designs matter, but it needs to give off comfort. Clothes will be in the closet hanging even if it has the perfect design, but feels uncomfortable when wearing it.

I want my customers to enjoy the artwork in a comfortable zone. I spend most of my time discovering new fabrics that give comfort and that is why SHALAJ’s garments are all silky smooth.

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ONE37pm: SHALAJ is located in three different continents, was there a specific reason why you chose those certain continents?

SHALAJ: Well. I’m originally from Thailand and artistic designs come out when your state of mind is in a place where you feel you’re at peace. Thailand is my home and that is why I created my art team in Thailand. SHALAJ’s headquarters is in South Korea since Korea tends to be fast and everything is done swiftly, but with quality. The attributes that the country has is a perfect fit for the fashion industry. Neat, compromise, and quick. That’s why I decided to manufacture all of my collections in Korea.

Lastly, SHALAJ’s garments fit well in America. Even though we are a luxury high-end brand, our brand roots start from streetwear. America is the motherland of street wear and where street culture flourishes. I believe that people in America would mostly enjoy our design and suits well. We consider our targets to be rappers, NBA stars or anyone who loves street culture.

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ONE37pm: What do you want to achieve with SHALAJ? Any goal that you have in mind?

SHALAJ: There is a phrase “No Pain No Gain”. Well…I want people to gain the lessons that I have learned from my past without getting a scar. I was able to learn life lessons by having to sacrifice something or even being stabbed in the back. Those experiences are painful and hard to recover from, but I learned something valuable that makes me move on.

I want to give off these lessons without people getting hurt in any sort of way. Also, I want to leave a strong mark in the industry. I want to be remembered as a person who created such a brand that just didn't make well designed garments, but an actual fine art.

You can continue to keep up with all the latest with SHALAJ via their website and Instagram.

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