Samui Wining & Dining
SLIP SIDEWAYS
Fashion is an offhand word, when faced with the sheer style of Psylo.


Page-62

One of the great things about Samui is the shopping. Some of us who have the good fortune to live here might not wholly agree. But for a visitor to the island it comes high up on the list. How many of you reading this, I wonder, have been asked by an array of nephews, nieces and friends to bring back mementos ranging from watches, DVDs, trendy trainers and designer bags and clothes, right through to gold and silver jewellery? Clothes, in fact, are the most popular choice. Here you have access to a whole range of almost-genuine designer goods, and at prices that are even less than the charity and goodwill shops back home. And the temptation, as always, is to go for the well-known brands.
          And that’s a real shame. I can clearly remember that for a few years my daughter, at a certain age, wouldn’t be seen dead in gear that didn’t have a ‘name’ on it, no matter how dull or plain the styling was, or how cheap and nasty the fabric. It’s a smart bit of marketing – give the dull-witted public (who are naturally unable to tell for themselves the difference between quality and rubbish) something to aim towards. Convince them that a brand name is desirable and represents quality goods, and then they don’t need to make worrying decisions!

        That was twenty years back but, sadly, the same attitude still lingers today. One big problem, particularly here on Samui, is that there are very few shops which sell genuine designer-made clothes. And then there’s the holiday attitude to contend with “. . . I can buy this sort of stuff back home – so why waste my holiday money on it here?” It’s understandable enough. Except for just one thing. There actually is a shop here that is now one of the top fashion names – sought after and subscribed to by divas, jet-setters and personalities the world over. It has shops in London, Bali, and now Samui. The style varies from dresses your mum would love, to tops, shoes, belts and bracelets that scream ‘steam punk’ with tongue firmly in cheek. It’s not so easy to wrap words around it all. But half an hour browsing around the displays at Psylo will paint a fuller picture.

         That was twenty years back but, sadly, the same attitude still lingers today. One big problem, particularly here on Samui, is that there are very few shops which sell genuine designer-made clothes. And then there’s the holiday attitude to contend with “. . . I can buy this sort of stuff back home – so why waste my holiday money on it here?” It’s understandable enough. Except for just one thing. There actually is a shop here that is now one of the top fashion names – sought after and subscribed to by divas, jet-setters and personalities the world over. It has shops in London, Bali, and now Samui. The style varies from dresses your mum would love, to tops, shoes, belts and bracelets that scream ‘steam punk’ with tongue firmly in cheek. It’s not so easy to wrap words around it all. But half an hour browsing around the displays at Psylo will paint a fuller picture.

          Admittedly, this all began with the Euro circuit of music festivals back the ’90s, so there may be some justification in the roots still lingering. As co-founder and current art director, Ami Ganiel, puts it, Psylo was “ . . . born from being on the road and travelling, but needing comfortable, easy-yet-niche clothes which made a quiet statement about our lifestyle.” And for several years, Ami and his friend and business-partner, Dan Keller, set up stalls at the festivals they visited,

          where they successfully sold the clothes they made. This expanded to the point where, in 2006, the first Psylo shop opened on Bali. This was where Shoki, Psylo’s current co-designer came on board, eventually becoming Ami’s life partner, too, along the way.

          Success was rapid, and in the following year, another Psylo emerged, this time in England’s hub of sub-cultural prominence, London’s Camden Market. And, before the paint was dry, a third shop appeared, this time on Samui, in the middle of Chaweng Beach Road. It’s easy to find; locate the landmark of Soi Green Mango and head with the flow of the one-way traffic. A couple of hundred metres more, on the left, you’ll see the Psylo shop-sign, before you get to the big McDonald’s landmark on the right.

          The window display is both eclectic and eye-catching, boldly presenting extremes of Psylo styling, swinging from a leather studded Mad Max figurine in banded leggings to a summer-day long-dress vision in shimmering gauzy layers. Wandering inside is something of a jolt; there is so much to look at. The first few moments are an anti-climax as, just for a bit, it all seems to be the same! Then you start to notice details; the buttons are off-centre. Here, one hem is longer than the other. There, the trouser zip is on a diagonal. Small quirks of style and flairs of design that are a smiling delight. The setting (‘décor’ is an inappropriate buzz-word here) is moodily and magnificently in keeping: the clothes racks are surrealistic, the hangers retro-antique and the wall statements range from mirror frames made from hacked-apart Transylvanian railway sleepers to huge panels of rusting ship’s boiler plate.

          But, soon, at some stage, you will handle the goods. You’ll pick something up or pluck out a garment on its hanger. Bizarrely, everything feels like satin. Like silk. Even the chunky leather on the cowboy-erotic spike heel fetish boots is as soft as a baby’s pillow. You’ll spend a sensuous few minutes just going round stroking things. You’ll spot the hand-made, hand-wound buttons and the perfect buttonholes. This is no accident as the company’s policy is not only to make each item by hand, but to use only eco-sustainable natural fabrics in their production. A Psylo T-shirt makes a market-bought items seem like sackcloth and ashes.

          But not only can you now enjoy Psylo’s newest shop in the Central Festival mall, but you can explore the simply gorgeous kiddies range, too. Here is clothing for the individual. You can deck yourself in post-holocaust leather gear, select a set of full moon party fisherman togs or simply something summery. This isn’t just about fashion, although their goods are certainly fashionable. Come here and you’ll find yourself slipping severely sideways – into the lifestyle of Psylo!

          

 Rob De Wet


 


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