Heart Made: new label weaves Thai design into Australian fashion


ion – the colours, textures, patterns, shapes and boundless space to push boundaries. The world of fashion, especially artisanal creations, became the fuel to my fire,” Khong told Inside Retail.

For Khong, the purpose of the brand is to redefine the way in which consumers look at artisanal craftsmanship. 

Instinctive inspiration

Khong acknowledges that his time in Thailand was instrumental in shaping his appreciation for the traditional essence of Thai art, culture, and craftsmanship. 

“The grace and grit that comes from making something with your bare hands is so inspiring to me. It is so familiar and instinctive. It is an art form that I love and often inspires me heavily,” he stressed.

He feels like this art form has been forgotten in the modern world, and is underappreciated and lacking representation within fashion.

“It makes me aware of my responsibility as a Thai person, or rather as an individual that respects and is inspired by this artform, to continue to educate and pass on the same skills to future generations,” he added.

Back to basics

“Family in Thailand is a core pillar of life within Thai culture. Our kinship structure is influenced very much by our connection with one another. My family is so dear to me, and an influencing force in my life,” he stated.

Khong mentioned the influence of his grandmother as a key inspiration for setting up the brand.

“When I was young, my grandmother was making tote bags for a living. It was what enabled her to provide for her family and continued to be an area of work where she specialised until the later years of her life,” he noted.

To this day, he can count on her to provide guidance on product design and reference materials, and also assist him with establishing a network of designers and artisans to craft the brand’s offerings.

“She will continue to be memorialised in my personal life and the ethos of Heart Made. Who knows? I might even design a bag in her steed,” he said.

Connecting the dots

Even during his university days in Bangkok, Khong was already developing and working on his interests in fashion and textiles.

“Through the years leading up to my graduation, I was exposed to myriad Thai textiles and design techniques. I discovered the beauty of Thai craftsmanship and design whilst also noting an absence of it within the fashion world at the time,” he noted.

It was at this moment that Khong decided to embark on his journey to share this uniquely Thai design culture through Heart Made.

Enrolling in a Masters of Fashion (Entrepreneurship) program at RMIT in Melbourne, Khong began his exploration of fashion as a business.

“I was taught the process of creating a venture from conception, to design, to resourcing and supplying of materials, all the way until the final product,” he added.

Experience matters

Khong soon had the opportunity to work within the fashion industry, with roles ranging from sales to visual merchandising. 

“I guess you could say that all the years of study and work within fashion have led me to this very moment, to share the concepts of fashion that I love and value with the world through my own commentary,” he stated.

“We work alongside local artisans and craftsmen to create authentic, handmade

goods, which not only supports their livelihoods, but also preserves the wisdom, beauty and

life-force within traditional handcraft,” he said.

Some of Heart Made’s bags are similar to those traditionally made using water hyacinth, a Thai plant, but now the brand has reimagined the product by using PET plastic and continuing to employ traditional hand-weaving techniques.

The future is bright

Khong is working full-time, which is where the capital for the company is being derived from. 

“In five years, I would love to see myself working just for the brand and have enough capital to go at it alone, and hopefully hire more talented people to join the team,” he added.

He is now researching new techniques that can be applied to his product, and he feels fabric prints and dyed materials from India could be the next passion project for the brand.


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