– By Myself: Hard to find, hard to forget –
It’s been a while since I came back to Bangkok. This time, I wanted to visit some places and designers that I’ve read about before. By Myself was definitely in my top 5.
I knew the shop was located in warehouse 5 in the famous Asiatique in Bangkok. But firstly, I could hardly imagine the size of the place (it was gigantic!), consisting of 9 warehouses which in turn offers different sois (“streets” in Thai) with uncountable souvenir shops (which were not my target) and a few designer places (which were my targets!). Secondly, our lack of understanding in the way the warehouses were arranged made it almost impossible to locate warehouse 5 easily. After walking up and down, and making wrong turns into various alleyways, I finally found number 5017 – the boutique of By Myself.
Luckily for me, Ouu, the designer and owner of By Myself was present himself, very much concentrated on handling something with his leather tool. Apparently, a fabrication of a beautiful piece was in progress. Seeing him sitting in his atelier corner between all his essentials, I felt the uniqueness of all the products around me even more. Every single exhibited item was designed, cut and saddle-stitched together by Ouu. Learning that he never uses computers but only trusts a good pencil and sketchbook to do his designs, I was positively surprised. It simply emphasizes how much he truly honors craftsmanship.
By Myself is a perfect place if you are searching for hand-crafted leather items and accessories, totes, crafted jeans and T-shirts with bold and masculine character. There are quite a few unisex designs as well, such as Tote bags in leather (and canvas!), passports and key holders, or useful cable ties with beautiful details. Even a tiny object like this was made with the whole heart and mind. I just love the subtle embossment on the leather and the closing mechanism of the strap using a gold-plated button. I snatched 3 out of the 4 different colors!
Between the accessories, a leather bracelet really stood out from the rest. I was sad it was for men and my wrist is not big enough for a masculine wear. However, the person who is wearing the bracelet right now is more than delighted!
It’s a doubled wrap bracelet in natural leather, without any color treatment after the dying process. We saw the color of an exhibited prototype after one year of use (which was great) and can’t wait to see the leather naturally ageing.
During a little chat, I felt really touched when Ouu showed me the calluses on his hand, simple prove of his hard work, being the only “head and hand” of his business. When he mentioned that he fears the fact that people might not fully appreciate the handcrafted value behind his designs, that every pieces was stitched by his own hand, I could completely understand his decision for doing all this on his own, to keep everything – literally – “solo”. By doing so, he is able to show, to explain, to talk to people about his work, like he was talking to me.
If you come to Bangkok, don’t miss the opportunity to visit By Myself, to see how leather (and other noble materials) is masterfully hand-crafted, to talk with the nice owner and designer to feel his commitment behind his work. And don’t forget to snatch some of these awesome leather items either!