The Day The Workshop Grew (Part I)

First of all I must deeply apologies for the lack of entries, This year I am proud to say has been our busiest year thus far. As Siam Costumes continues to expand overseas from the Cinema, T.v., Stage, Amusement parks and cruise line’s.

Of course as our clientele expands so does the Siam Costumes Family and Workshop…

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We tried ever so hard to make Basil the dog to look at the camera.

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Busy Bee’s

As usual Siam’s Little Helpers have been busy at work, with more than one production at once costumes have been flying out of the workshop, from WW1 uniforms,1900 mens frock coats and suits to traditional Siamese costumes.

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Here you can see Rampai one of our pattern cutters, cutting out some fabric for the WW2 uniforms.

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I’ve caught Sak by surprise as he’s constructing one of the men’s WW1 tunics, best leave him to it.

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Gorya and Nok supply the finishing touches to the traditional Siamese costumes.

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Patiently waiting, almost ready.

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Sebastian sorting out the financial accounts.

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Alexander working on the social networks and marketing.

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Not entirely sure what sing is trying to accomplish here, but that’s all for today.

Company Cribs: Siam Costumes Part 3

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Last and not least, we will be having a look at the third and final building of Siam Costumes. By now you should have a gist of what to expect,and  as promised we will have a look into our stock room unfortunately due to privacy policies we hold with our clients, we won’t be showing you anything that we are working on currently. Shall we begin?

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We shall skip the ground floor, as it’s the other side of the workshop which I mostly covered on the last post. As we make our way to the second floor here is a brief sample of our zip stock, the reason why they are placed here is because these are the most commonly used zips, also if you notice we have Saddam Hussein looking over them for safe keeping.

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Here is some of our tens of thousand buttons, bought from all over Asia mainly being Hong Kong. Almost every production we have worked on consist of at least one of these buttons.

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Here is half of our military insignias, mainly consisting of Nazi WW2 insignias from Inglorious Basterds. As well as a load of braiding, and trimmings which comes in handy more often than not, especially for light entertainment productions.

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The firs room holds thousands of fabric samples , from stores all around Asia but once again mainly Hong Kong and China. Sorry about the mess I swear there was a time when it was all neatly organised, and those boxes ,yes you guessed correctly those are filled with hundreds more fabric samples.

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The reason why we have a room dedicated to these store samples, is because before they were placed in boxes and Darryl tends to remind us ” I hate having things in boxes, you just can never find what you are looking for” which is a fair point. Having the samples placed on the wall, in fabric categories I.e wools and Velvets…allows us and the clients to easily navigate our way through and find the suitable fabric.

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Don’t worry Its not what It looks like, Siam Costumes aren’t secretly part of a racist cult. These are arm bands from which movie? Seabiscuit? Seriously thats your answer, I’ve already mentioned the film one or two times, “Inglorious Basterds”.

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Oops sorry to interrupt, didn’t know this kind of party was going on up here. Ill leave you guys to it.

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This room is packed with more fabric, mainly the heavy rolled ones. Also a lot of our light entertainment such as fabric used for Theme Parks, is later stored within this room.

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Here is a collection of our unique ties, thats right i said unique, we have hundreds of plain black and white ties stored away in the cupboard. However these beautiful ties are very unique in each design.They have also previously been used in several 1930-50s productions.

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Onto the last room of the tour, and what  room is more worthy of an encore than the stock room. This room is where we store a lot of our samples and prototypes of previous and upcoming productions.

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You may remember this from a previous post. Its The Hollywood Letter characters from Universal Studios Singapore, Hollywood dreams parade.

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One of our several prototypes from Tarantino’s classic remake Inglorious Basterds.

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A prototype from an upcoming WW2 production, so remember where you saw it first.

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A sample from Opera Australia Carmen.

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Any super hero fans? You may recognise this costume although the scenes they were worn in were very dark for obvious dramatic reasons, they are the vest’s that the ninjas wore in this years The Wolverine.

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The curtains are closing, and I’m afraid this is the official end of the tour. It was pleasure showing you around and giving you an insight into our workshop but I’m afraid we have a lot of work to get on with. Thank you and Good Bye.

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At least some one is pleased to be leaving the workshop.

Company Cribs: Siam Costumes Part 2

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Your back already!? This time we shall venture into the second building and have a look at the workshop , a collection of rare authentic fabrics along with other hidden gems.

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As you can see our workshop is split into two sides, as most of the time we will be working on several productions at once. This way it makes it a lot easier to oversee our work.

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If you look closely you may notice the black and white striped fabric. Any ideas ,apart from prisoners and robbers who can be seen in a black and white striped clothes? No luck, how about that quirky fella Beetlejuice.

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So that’s the ground floor where all the magic happens, let’s make our way upstairs and see what we can find.

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I can see Michael in our second pattern cutting room , let’s go and have a look and see what he’s up to.

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We finally found Sebastian, call off the search and rescue team and Michael Sloan who I mentioned in a previous blog, I won’t hesitate to describe him as one of the best pattern cutters in America. Young grasshopper Sebastian is lucky to be able to have michael teach him few tips about pattern cutting. I best leave them to it.

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This room is very popular among costume designers, in fact any one who works within the costume industry. It would be rude not to step inside.

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We call this, the room of natural beauty, I’m joking its referred to as the northern room. This authentic library of fabric has been stocking up for over the past 10-15 years from northern Thailand, Laos, Burma and Cambodia.

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I once had the pleasure of going up to a small town in northern Thailand as Darryl was visiting some factories to buy some cotton, whilst he was looking through the mountains of fabric he told me when he goes to these factories he feels like a little kid in a sweet store, he also said that his wife hates him going up here as he can’t help but buy “too much” fabric although when he sees an unusual fabric he is already thinking of which type of film or stage production it could be used on.

Thats enough of that, up to the last floor of this building.

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At the top of the stairs, you are greeted by draws and draws of files, here is an example of some. We don’t just store everything on the computers as its not practical at times when we need to refer back to styles, patterns etc. See if you can notice any previous productions.

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Not one of the most popular rooms of the building, but never the less one of the most important. Here is another library this time of previous patterns from many different productions, this is useful as sometimes costumes will repeat itself especially suits, shirts, etc so it saves a lot of time rather than having to construct a new pattern each time.

And once again we have come to an end, for now. Next time we will be showing you around the 3rd and final building, where you will get to see our notorious stock room, our fabric sample room and others you will just have to wait and see, until next time.

Company Cribs: Siam Costumes Part 1

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Today I shall be giving you a tour around our office/ workshop, which is located deep in the heart of Bangkok. Whether its the thousands upon thousands yards of fabric, the highly skilled Siam little helper’s or the memorable costumes from Inglorious Basterds to   The Wolverine, we will be taking you behind the closed curtains.
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This is the first of three buildings, shall we go and have a look?
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At the ground floor is one room among several where we stock thousands of yards of fabric, from Shirting, Suiting, Linen, Lining, Satin and Interfacing. Who knows when you may see them again perhaps on the big screen, on stage, in a hotel, in a theme park or on a cruise ship, the possibilities are endless.
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Its no wonder why on a special occasion where we get some garments made for us we take a long time picking our choice of fabric as we are truly spoilt for choice. Thats enough of this floor lets make our way up the stairs.
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As we enter the 2nd floor, we can see one of our two pattern cutting rooms. Lets have a little sneak peak then see what they’re up to.
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Arif one of our key pattern cutters seems to be in deep thought whilst he constructs a pattern. At the moment he’s working on the latest order from Universal Studios Singapore.
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Rampai who has been taken under the wing of Arif for over a year now. Very happy to see us as usual whilst also promoting world peace. Shall we make our way to the top floor.
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Hang on first of all we have to try to make it past the bosses private security guard Basil, good to see though he’s doing his job and guarding the fort.
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Here is Alex one of our young Admin/Sales advisors, he must of heard us scuffling up the stairs past the big bad dog. Looks like were missing Sebastian , perhaps we will find him lurking around one of the other buildings.
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We finally arrive at the kings chambers, Darryl is busy working plus he’s already given us an interview not so long ago so I won’t interrupt him. If you look closely you may notice some fabric samples on his desk, which is for the next production in the pipeline which I will keep you posted on. The tour for the first building has drawn to an end, next time I shall be showing you around the workshop where you can be introduced to Siam’s little helpers, more of extensive fabric collection as well as memorable costumes.

The Long way round

Yesterday morning I caught up with the founder and owner of Siam Costumes: Darryl Kent-Morris, I wanted to find out where it all began, Why he chose this sector of the industry and how he got to where he is now.

1. Who would you say are your main customers?

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“Well you see our client base, it falls into two main areas that being corporate, and entertainment. However more often than not, they crossover to one another, but we try to differentiate between the two. On the corporate side it is The Cameron Macintosh Theatre Group and  Merlin Entertainment. Most people wouldnt know who they both are but Cameron Macintosh is most probably one of the world’s biggest musical producers , owning the rights for hit musicals such as Cats, Les Miserables, and Phantom of the Opera, which just happens to be 3 of the longest running musical stage productions ever. Merlin owns Seaworld, Legoland and Madam Tussaud’s plus a whole  host of other theme park type venues, and it is recognised as the second largest entertainment company after Disney . On the entertainment side Andrew Llyod Webber’s Really Useful Group has to be up there along with HBO and BBC“.

2. When did you first realise that you had a passion for clothes?

“Ever since I was young child I’ve always had a love for history, most people don’t realise that one of the key element of our pasts was what people wore, and unlike now it was usually for practical reasons such as riding a horse and what fabric and dyes were available. Therefore getting involved in costumes was a natural progression”.

3. What inspired you to start your own business in the manufacturing sector rather than work your way up in an established company?

“I never really wanted to work for someone and I have done everything possible to avoid it. One of my first businesses I ever had was a landscape gardening company, which I still love above all else. I do enjoy the freedom and flexibility I have working for myself, and resting something from nothing but like everything it also has its disadvantages”.

4. Have you always shown an interest to costumes within the entertainment industry?

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“Yes one of the first films I saw and took as much interest in the costumes as the plot, was Sergio Leone‘s “Once upon a time in America”  and the costume designer was Gabriella Pescucci and who is still one of my favourite costume designers”.

5. What was the greatest moment so far for Siam Costumes?

“When I took the big step of manufacturing internally rather than externally. So being able to produce all of our work in-house, and for the first time we were able to oversee our work entirely from start to finish, plus gives the added bonus  of continuously improving our employees skills”.

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6. What made you take the leap from tailoring for members of the public to manufacturing for the entertainment industry?

“The Commercial reason is that the rewards are greater, primarily as I said being based in Bangkok I am unable to visit clients personally. The general public also don’t know what they require, so therefore need our involvement a lot of the time. Unlike designers, but being based where we are it is impossible for us to visit every client each and every time they want a new garment. Not to mention that the public obviously don’t require historical garment’s to be made, which for me is one of the most important factors of why I’ve chosen to do what I am doing”.

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7. Where would you like to see Siam Costumes within the next 10 years?

“I would like to see my two sons taking over the day to day running of the business, plus at least one more workshop opening in South-East Asia, which could happen soon so watch this space”.

8. Having worked within the Industry for as long as you have, Is there anything that still surprises you?

“Thats a good question, I could say the time someone who I won’t name threatened to have me “whacked” by a combination of the Russian Mafia, half a dozen of his East-European henchmen and an ex C.I.A agent for good measure,but we don’t need to go into that. I would say the ability of individuals that have worked for us to exceed my expectations. When ever I look back of what we have produced in the past 30 years I am always surprised and elated on how far we have progressed and achieved”.

9. What are the advantages of working in Thailand?

“Because of the history of the tourist trade there is a ready pool of skilled labour, who if given time and careful instruction can learn  to meet the perfection that Broadway and Hollywood demand. Lest we forget the climate, that beats hands down the English weather, the fantastic cuisine, the general ambiance of the place Thailand for all intents and purposes is safe. Last but not least South-East Asia is part of the world’s eppi centre for fabric and ancillary items which enables us make our clientele’s  work far more interesting”.

10.  Which production that you have worked on, have you found the most interesting from a costume perspective and why?

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“Most probably Winters Tale last year, because it took the required competence of our staff to a whole new level and from a personal interest the beginning of the 20th century is still my favourite period of men’s clothing”.

11. If you had to do it all over again is there anything that you would do differently from a business persecutive?

“Yes I would like to have completed a men’s tailoring course. I truly believe my weakest point is that I am not a tailor and like anything in life its important to lead by example, although there again the last 30 years have been extremely interesting, and lets be honest does the Chairman of General Motors know how to ensemble an engine? most probably not but does he really need to”

Siam Costumes Goes Universal

If you were to have a look at Siam Costumes Resume you would notice films and stage work pops up more than often as well as Corporate companies, however these last two months Siam Costumes have been taking on the world of Attraction Parks. Feel free to have a peek behind the closed curtains as we take you behind the scenes.The Universal Studios in Sentosa is one of the biggest Attractions in Singapore and Siam Costumes were more than Happy to make the costumes for  the Hollywood Dreams Parade  Here is a sneak peak into what happened before the Parade.


First of all we are sent the costume breakdown with the design for each. Here is an example of one of the characters costume we were asked to make.

As for the Hollywood Parade there were 18 Characters and each of them were very different in both design and fabric choice. So It was almost certain we wouldn’t have all the appropriate fabrics in stock therefore a shop around Bangkok Markets was needed but also a trip to Hong Kong.


After a full long day of walking through the markets with rolls and rolls of fabric in the scorching  heat, Our arms were aching and our feet began to blister so what a relief it was when we purchased the final fabric.  Fabric, check now time to jump into a taxi to the airport, board the plane and then its back to Thailand.

Finally when all the fabric is bought, Siam’s Little helpers get to work. First of all as you can see in the image, Arif one of our pattern cutters begins to  make the patterns and will then cut out the fabric.

Once that stage is complete, Arif will then head down to the ground workshop where all the magic happens and hand over the fabric to our tailors in this case being Poom. Poom will put his hands to the test as he sews the appropriate pieces of the garment together. 

Once Poom has completed his part then its on to the finalisation of the garment where our finishers come into play, they will then add the finishing touches such as buttons, stitches and the most vital part of there job they must check every inch of the garment to make sure that it is to highest standard before we send it off to our client. Once everyone’s happy with the costume we send it off and as we wait for there hopefully delighted response, its onto the next garment. 

 

The Universal Studios seem more than pleased especially the head costume designer Sydney so its a job well done for the Siam Costume team and to top it off we get to read an article on the new look for the Hollywood Dreams parade and our costumes seem to be the centre of attention and an overall great review: “the new costumes give the parade a new look that is more vibrant and engaging”(http://dejiki.com/2013/09/hollywood-dreams-parade-a-new-look/

With everyone pleased with the end result including ourselves, We are even more delighted to be given the task to take on Universal Studios next project which is the notorious Halloween Horror Nights. Which we will be reporting every step of the way alongside the Vampires, Witches and Ghosts. Until next time


An Introduction to Siam Costumes

I suppose an Introduction to ourselves would be an appropriate way to start of our blog. Siam Costumes has been around for over 30 years now, the owner of the company is an Englishmen called Darryl Kent-Morris, he always had a passion for clothes i can imagine when he was living in London during the peak of the punk age whilst he was customising his shirts and jeans he never imagined he would end up manufacturing costumes for Hollywood films.



Siam Costumes is based in the heart of south-east asia that being Thailand, Its here where Darryl truly fell in love with Asia: the culture, the people, the food, the heat and the endless amount of opportunities and whether he knew it or not Thailand would one day become his home and workplace. 

 

 

Thailand is renowned for its authentic fabrics from its notorious Silk to its finest pure cotton and if you still can’t find what you’re looking for then its just over a two-hour flight to China.


So it’s now wonder why

Siam costumes have an endless amount of fabric in stock sourced from all around the world and not to mention the thousands of haberdasheries.




At first Designers and Companies were weary about trusting Siam Costumes as it was a new company that just started and was located on the other side of the world. As time passed and Siam Costumes worked they’re way from the bottom, the work began to gain some well deserved attention and it took Darryl around ten years to become a reliable trusted company that could handle the large productions on a tight time scale and at the highest quality for the entertainment industry. 

 

 

Having worked on Hollywood blockbusters such as Oliver stones Alexander, Quentin Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds and Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy as well as  Andrew Llyods webber hit musical Love never dies and Ben Hurs world tour.  Now with one of the most versatile resumes within the industry Siam Costumes look forward to progressing even more within the next few years.