Bangkok does not lack for custom-made dress stores—or tailoring in general, for that matter. So what sets House of Narong apart? “Diligent attention to even the smallest detail,” says Narong Ketkew, who has designed one-of-a-kind evening, cocktail, and wedding dresses for over a decade at his shop on Nang Linchi Road.
“The first thing I ask is, ‘What is the occasion, and what will be your level of importance?’” explains Narong. From that moment on the collaboration between client and designer unfolds, eventually giving birth to not just a dress but a wearable work of art, the likes of which grace runways as well as gala halls. And to the chagrin of his team of 25, every dress must pass his personal inspection, whether that means changing a hemline or deconstructing the dress and starting from scratch. In Narong’s words, “My customers are paying for a memory that will last a lifetime,” so every stitch merits such keen analysis.
As an added perk, Narong also oversees a ready-to-wear collection in China and has recently launched a new online brand called Cocoa-Brown, which offers a variety of cocktail and party dresses for those who want a dress now and don’t mind passing up the hands-on tailoring and attention. But his vision doesn’t stop at one shop. The long-term goal is to make House of Narong more readily accessible to the overseas clients, starting with pop-up stores and online sales.
“There were some hard years where I would make anything anyone asked, even a pin cushion, just to make ends meet,” says the designer, whose winding road has taken him from dead-end day jobs to night classes and, eventually, the Chananpattana International Design Institute (CIDI), where he studied for two years. But now, Narong won’t make just anything. “I refuse to copy what other designers have already made,” he says. “It just feels wrong.”
Gone, too, are the days of making pin cushions for a paycheck. Hand-crafted dresses from House of Narong run between B20,000 and B30,000, on average, although the price depends on the service.
House of Narong
63 Nang Linchi 3 Alley | 0 2286 9879 | houseofnarong.com