Making choices that alter the path of our lives is what makes life worth it. B.F.A. knitwear menswear design student Beam Ratchapol Ngaongam started his journey as a menswear designer; however, along the way, he became torn between his love for knitting and his passion for sewing. Ngaongam was struck by the luxurious aspect that knitwear volume can offer, even more than the tedious knitting process itself.
A defining characteristic of his collection is complexity. It all started with the fascination of how the human body works and ended up being an exploration of sadness versus beauty and the point where they meet. His journey as a knitwear designer includes sacrifice. The amount of commitment and work required are translated into a collection that symbolizes chaos in its oversized garments and excessive wrapping. A moment of revelation happened when he realized how much the body could handle physically and emotionally.
Bringing the collection to life involved not only modifying garments daily, it also included his personal routine. At some point, the feeling of exploring the unknown made him question his abilities as a knitwear designer. Not giving up, he would overcome the feeling of being overwhelmed and be surprised at how resilient his body was despite the pressure.
His sketches show a reflection of him overcoming an internal struggle by incorporating vibrant colors into the exaggerated garments. German-born American painter Hans Hofmann inspired Ngaongam’s use of color in a way that’s cheery and uplifting – a joy that can also be found by striving for our potential.
Confusion occurred as a result of following the same pattern every day, making him feel more like a robot than a human. Fighting with himself and his mind, he persevered to create looks that resemble hope and the importance of seeking light in the darkness. Polyester, acrylic fiber, and merino wool come in vibrant colors like red, pink, blue and green to hide the uncomfortable feelings of anger, sadness, and fear.
Exaggerated and asymmetric silhouettes in hoodies, dresses, and jumpsuits show that amid the chaos there is still so much happiness to be found. The curves and color combinations are proof of his survival process despite the hidden doubts and struggles underneath. A representation of encouragement, his collection symbolizes not only surviving but also mastering the creative process required to become a world-class knitwear menswear designer.