We’re in the Bangkok Skytrain going towards Sukhumvit Road. Since the beginning of our trip Around the World in 80 Brands, we have been communicating our itinerary and date of arrival on Facebook. We write a short story about the destination, post some pictures on our walls and publish the meeting stories on Facebook notes.
But I also check which of my Facebook friends is based in the city we’re visiting. Like Bangkok-based Bhanu Inkawat. He has a background in advertising, founded the Thai lifestyle brand Greyhound in 1980 and is still the brand’s Creative Director. I have been following him for some time now, but we have never had the chance to meet in the real world. That is about to change, because we are meeting him in an hour at the Greyhound Café in The Emporium shopping mall. The Café is one of the brand extensions of Greyhound fashion.
The Skytrain stops at Siam station and a group of five fashionably dressed young women enters the train. They stand near the door, chatting about the important things in the life of a twenty-something-year-old woman like clothes, make-up, shoes and handbags. They have been shopping and are carrying shopping bags from the lifestyle brands we also know in Europe, Diesel, Dolce & Gabbana, Tommy Hilfiger, DKNY….
“It doesn’t matter where you are, you find the same logos everywhere around the world,” I say to Anouk. “That’s one of the reasons Bhanu came up with the idea of starting an authentic Thai lifestyle brand. He describes the Greyhound style as ‘beautiful chaos’, everything and anything goes together harmoniously. Like most things in Thailand.”
The train slows down as we enter Phrom Phong station. “This is it,” I say as I get up. The young women we observed earlier also exit the train. From the station we enter The Emporium shopping mall via a sky bridge.
The mall is not much different from the malls in Los Angeles, Dubai or Paris. “The usual suspects,” I say, “Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Prada, Rolex, Fendi, Montblanc, Paul Smith. They are all here in Bangkok.”
Greyhound, on the contrary, is making its way in the opposite direction. It started in Bangkok and is expanding to fashion cities such as Paris, Berlin, Sydney and Moscow.
As trend spotters, we observe the shopping crowd. People with stylish bags from the luxury designer boutiques mixing with people carrying plastic bags from the street market next door.
We continue walking, increasing our speed to arrive in time for our meeting with Bhanu Inkawat at the Greyhound Café. Just before we go in, Anouk stops. “There are the women from the Skytrain again,” she says, “look at the bags they’re carrying!” I scan the women, and see they are carrying even more shopping bags. “Shop till you drop,” I say. I look at the logo on the bags and read ‘Greyhound’.
“The Thai is turning,” I joke, before entering the café.
© 2012 CoolBrands – Around the World in 80 Brands
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Tags: Global Storytelling Campaign, Anouk Pappers, Maarten Schäfer, Around the World in 80 Brands, Around the World, 80 Brands, Around the World in 80 days, CoolBrands Storytelling, Storytelling, CoolBrands, cool storytelling, third party storytelling, creating talk value, storytelling, thai fashion, thai fashion lifestyle, thai lifestyle brand, meeting bhanu inkawat, bhanu inkawat, bhanu, inkawat, meeting greyhound, greyhound, greyhound café, greyhound fashion, Bangkok,