Thakoon Panichgul On HommeGirls & Finding Femininity In Menswear

"Sure, there is gender fluidity that's making a big impact — but no one is really talking about menswear for women in a way that doesn't erase her femininity."

Photo: Courtesy of HommeGirls.

Long gone are the days when designers led traditional careers. Late nights of the professional and personal sorts aside, there was a time in fashion where celebrity and authority were earned — read: couldn’t be bought — and Instagram was an idea far, far in the distance. Designers designed, models modeled, and photographers photographed.

Nowadays, however, it’d seem none of that is enough. More is more and less just isn’t an option. It’s why so many designers aren’t just starting their own lines, they’re starting several at once and throwing themselves into personal projects that bolster their own fame and following. There’s Marc Jacobs, then there’s Marc by Marc Jacobs, Marc Jacobs Beauty, Marc Jacobs book stores, and Marc Jacobs accepting the first Fashion Trailblazer award at the VMAs.

Who could blame those with endless creativity and hunger for what’s next, though — especially in an era where everyone is someone and no-one is anyone. That also doesn’t mean that ideas shouldn’t be pursued, and it’s what leads us to Thakoon Panichgul, the designer who’s taking a break from his eponymous label to pursue a ‘zine: HommeGirls.

The Thai-American designer has tapped his network of creatives, like Elissa Santisi, Cass Bird, and more, to create an editorial destination that encourages women to embrace traditional menswear. Below, we caught up with Panichgul to talk his latest project, plus what’s ahead for his beloved Vogue-certified label.

Photo: Courtesy of HommeGirls.
Photo: Courtesy of HommeGirls.

What led you to create HommeGirls? Walk me through the process of its inception and execution.
I have always been inspired by menswear, even as design references... the uniformity, functionality, simpicity. While taking some time off from designing, I was thinking a lot about fashion today versus when I first started (what's different, what's the same, what's changed) — and the simplicity of menswear kept coming back. And that's when I discovered that there's not a platform that talks about it for women. Sure, there is gender fluidity that's making a big impact — but no one is really talking about menswear for women in a way that doesn't erase her femininity. Also, post-Phoebe Philo's Céline, everyone I know was up in arms, and I wanted to dig a little more into the why's. Then, when I thought of the name HommeGirls, I quickly began researching and found that this idea resonates, so I kept going.

Photo: Courtesy of HommeGirls.

What would you say to those who think there are too many brands and content platforms out there? What makes now a good time for HommeGirls to debut?
I would say that it's true there are many brands and content platforms — but there isn't anything that clears the clutter and the noise, which is our aim. Also, most platforms cover trends, whereas what we are focusing on is style — what makes enduring style.

What are your experiences, if any, with gender (in fashion or your own life) or androgyny?
I think that man or woman, we all want the same things. So why are there vast differences in rules of dressing for a man or a woman?

In your own words, what is/are the key difference(s) between a magazine and a 'zine?
I wanted to do something anti-glossy... for today. Also, I don't think you need so many stories in one issue. People want something to quickly flip through, read a piece, see beautiful images, be inspired in a quick, concise way. That's what a 'zine format provides.

Photo: Courtesy of HommeGirls.

Your thoughts on creating a print project when print magazines are continuing to close?
I became creative through magazines. The act of going to look for something makes you appreciate it a little bit more. Also, the act of flipping through a magazine is more memorable — information sticks more than it does when you're just swiping.

What are the future plans for HommeGirls? It's now been made shoppable. Will your line or clothing at all be a part of it?
I want it to be a platform for content, for commerce, for community. It's my own passion project, so I'm not restricted and I want to have the freedom to create stories, work with new talents, explore design concepts... It's my laboratory.

Lastly, what type of content do you plan to run within the magazine and on social media?
We'll run the gamut on menswear as it pertains to how young girls and women are dressing now, cultural conversations about how women dress and who owns that conversation — but it has to always be rooted in style, because ultimately, it's what me and my girlfriends love to talk about.

Related Articles