Thai fashion designer Nün Stannard is one of Bangkok’s up-and-coming style stars—she’s the driving force and namesake behind the athleisure-inspired indie clothing line Nün Bangkok. The four-year-old brand is making waves in Thailand and beyond: It already counts some of fashion’s international young it-girl crew like model-celeb Alexis Ren and actress Jade Chynoweth as fans. Stannard loves to travel, and lives for a beach getaway, but spends most days in her beloved Bangkok hard at work on her line—which is on the cusp of releasing it’s first-ever activewear collection. We got the Thai beauty to spill her thoughts on Bangkok street style, her favorite neighborhoods to explore, and the best places to indulge in the city’s vibrant food scene.
LUXURY RETREATS: You’ve loved fashion since you were a child, but honing in on your hobby really took off when you became a style blogger and started your popular Instagram account, @BlatantlyBlue. How did you jump from fashion aficionado to fashion designer?
NÜN STANNARD: I was working in film, which didn’t give me any creative satisfaction whatsoever. One day while browsing the Internet for outfit ideas, I stumbled upon lookbook.nu and found thousands of normal girls posting and sharing their daily outfits. They were from all parts of the world, had different jobs and different backgrounds, but here they were, sharing their mutual love for fashion. I immediately became obsessed with this platform. Eventually, I slowly started to gain followers and ‘hypes’ on my posts, and with that, I became engrossed in the online fashion scene. I didn’t know how I was going to turn fashion blogging into a full-time career, but I knew I didn’t want anything to do with film anymore. And finally, I gathered enough courage to tell my mum that I was leaving the industry. To my surprise, she supported my decision. In that same conversation, it was her who said, ‘you might as well just start your own fashion line.’
My then-boyfriend, now-husband Tom Shigeru Stannard encouraged the idea. We both loved fashion and have always had design ideas. We started putting together Nün Bangkok that very same day, and hiring seamstresses to work at our little factory. As well as designing the clothing ourselves, we wanted our brand to be sweatshop-free. Today, four seamstresses (including my auntie!) and Tom and I make up the Nün Bangkok crew. Tom does most of the designing and I mainly work on the marketing.
LR: How did the look and style of Nün Bangkok develop?
STANNARD: After moving back to Thailand [from London, after graduating from the University of the Arts], Tom and I noticed that Thai fashion was lacking in sporty vibes. Most brands were very feminine, and I’ve never been a girly-girl. But I found it hard to find brands where a sporty look wasn’t outright gym gear. Another thing we noticed was that most clothing brands only catered to just one body type. I often found it very difficult to find pants that fit me properly, as I have a small waist but wide hips and thick thighs. If this was happening to me, I figured it must ring true for lots of other girls and women too. I’d been told all my life to to cover up my thighs and had never found the right bottoms to fit my body type. So we wanted to create a line that looks good on most body types, one that doesn’t encourage women to cover up and hide, but instead flaunt their bodies and create confidence and empowerment.
After putting out athleisure designs for four years now, we’ll be releasing our first-ever activewear line. Funnily enough, we started Nün Bangkok thinking we’d bring a sportier vibe to Bangkok, but ended up being a hit in the U.S. (mainly in California), Europe, and Australia too.
LR: How would you describe Bangkok’s overall style and vibe—and how does Nün Bangkok fit into it?
STANNARD: Bangkok used to be quite a conservative city where people weren’t confident to explore fashion. However, in the past few years, I’ve been seeing some very crazy and original fashionistas here. It’s been amazing to see Bangkok blossom into a fashion hub of Asia. I certainly feel that the sneaker culture is starting to grow here, and with that, we’re pushing more to get Nün Bangkok more known in our own country.
LR: When you’re not poring over new designs, do you have a favorite Bangkok neighborhood you love to hang out in?
STANNARD: Thonglor, for sure [a hip neighborhood in the northern Watthana district of Bangkok known for food and bars]. Bangkok is not really a walking city, but around Thonglor everything is within walking distance. You can easily spend the whole day walking around and cafe-hopping, and never need a car. It’s such a modern neighborhood, and there’s great restaurants. If you don’t know what to eat in Thailand, just hit up Thonglor and the choices are endless.
I’m obsessed with the restaurant Phuket Town—I even went through a phase where I ordered takeout from here every day. They serve southern Thai food and (warning!) it’s super-spicy. I always get the chicken curry with bamboo shoots, minced pork stir-fried with chili paste, and salt and chili squid. Tom and I often order up to 10 dishes—I’m not kidding—and we devour all of it. Order anything and it’ll most likely be the most amazing thing you’ve ever had.
LR: What other spots do you love to eat in Bangkok?
STANNARD: Definitely Wattana Panich in the Ekamai neighborhood. They sell the best stewed beef noodles, and have been open for more than 60 years. I take all my friends and family who are visiting, and it’s always a big hit. It’s a street-food place really only serving beef noodles, so all you have to do is choose what kind of noodles you want.
I also love Zaew Noodles on Sukhumvit 49 for fish ball noodles. I discovered this noodle stall just two years ago, and have been going there so much ever since. We make sure to go there before lunchtime, because it’s such a tiny little place that if you get there too late you’ll queue up for ages. Like Wattana Panich, they really only serve one thing. You just pick what noodles you want, and that’s all.
LR: What do you wish more visitors to Bangkok discovered about the city?
Thailand is not just about Khao San Road [a touristy street in Central Bangkok] and beach parties. If that’s all you’re doing here, you haven’t seen Thailand. Bangkok is a very diverse city that has everything to offer, but you have to get out of whichever area you’re staying in and travel around the city so that you’re not presented with just one version of it. Every little area of Bangkok has its own mini cultures, and it’s own way of how things are done.
LR: And speaking of getting out, what’s your favorite place in Thailand to travel to?
STANNARD: Pranburi [a coastal area south of Bangkok that’s been called ‘Thai Riviera’]. I love the beach. Whenever I feel the need to get away, Pranburi offers very clean private beaches that are perfect for me to get away from my busy city life.
LR: Where are you headed next?
I love to travel, and I have friends in different countries, so I’m always finding excuses to see them, travel with them and shoot together. I think my plans for the rest of this year include a trip to Pranburi, of course, then Vietnam. I just recently discovered that Vietnam has a beautiful desert that’s super Instagram-worthy, so I’ll be going there with my bestie to shoot together. Then I’m heading to Phuket, an island in the south of Thailand with more friends so we can shoot.