Thailand in Vogue with launch of local edition
By Amy Sawitta Lefevre
BANGKOK (Reuters) - Squeals of delight erupted from two Thai women dressed in elegant designer labels as they scanned a rack of fashion magazines at a high-end Bangkok shopping mall, then pounced on the object of their quest: a copy of the Thai edition of Vogue.
"It's here, it's here," shouted Athitiya Santisuk, 31, to her friend as they eagerly turned the glossy pages.
The fashion bible's launch in Thailand on Jan 25 heralded a new era for budding fashionistas and a growing middle class whose tastes are becoming more discerning even as the Thai fashion industry grows more international, highlighted by a twice-yearly fashion week.
"Vogue has become an indicator of economic development and the sophistication of a nation. Thailand's luxury industry is mature and this is a barometer of an emerging, affluent middle class," Kullawit Laosuksri, Vogue Thailand's editor-in-chief, told Reuters.
The Thai edition, published by Conde Nast International with a Thai company, is chock full of advertising, just like its overseas cousins - including those promoting skin whitening products, a reflection of Thailand's obsession with light skin.
"Vogue Thailand will have a strong beauty component, perhaps slightly more than other Vogues," James Woolhouse, President of Conde Nast Asia Pacific, told Reuters.
Among the articles are a photo spread of Thailand's Queen Sirikit in her younger days and several fashion shoots using Bangkok as a backdrop. The cover features Si Tanwiboon, a Thai-Chinese model who has graced catwalks at Jean Paul Gaultier and Louis Vuitton.
But the magazine's presence in Thailand raises questions over the country's income gap and the stark difference between the lifestyle of many of Bangkok's urbanites and some 66 percent of the population who live in slums on the city's periphery or in rural areas far from modern, multi-storey shopping malls. Continued...