London label This is Fred launches line inspired by The Slate Phuket

While we know hotel stays can be absolutely rejuvenating, it’s not often that you hear about a British streetwear designer who has become so inspired that he designs an entire collection around his stay. This is however the case with The Slate Phuket and the London label This is Fred.

Have you ever stayed in a place and loved it so much that you wish you could wear it? We imagine Frederick ‘Fred’ Morrison had this thought on his trip to Phuket before the pandemic, as the designer released an exclusive line of streetwear items that draw inspiration from various elements of Slate Phuket.

Showcasing artistic and architectural elements instilled and installed by the famous Bill Bensley, The Slate is certainly one of the most avant-garde properties in Phuket. From industrial inspirations to a deeply rooted history, we recently visited The Slate Phuket to take a closer look at both the hotel and the collection. Here are five observations we made.

[All images courtesy of The Slate]

5 things we love about the Slate Phuket x Fred collaboration

The Slate Phuket x Fred is a cross between the past and the present

Slate Phuket aims to reflect the rich industrial heritage of Phuket, particularly by drawing inspiration from the island’s mining history. Owners of The Slate, the Na Ranong family were involved in this business and used this heritage as an influence for many design elements of the hotel.

One of the first things customers will notice about The Slate is how dark it is. Whether you’re trying Black Ginger’s award-winning Thai cuisine or just lounging in Rebar’s massive, towering chairs, there’s plenty of dark wood and metal everywhere you look. Pewter sculptures dot the gardens and ceilings, and antique items from the family’s own home can be found in unsuspecting corners. There is a feeling of trance and mystery, which is certainly not for everyone, but as the hospitality mogul and woman of power at all levels, “Moo” Prakaikaew rightly explains. Na Ranong, it’s not meant to be for everyone. Design appreciation can be exclusive this way.

It’s a fitting and entirely fitting statement to admire now in 2021, but when The Slate opened years ago (back then as Indigo Pearl) it was a progressive philosophy. and extremely modernist to embody for a Thai hotel. Design hotels hardly existed, and while everyone is looking for the next big thing to ‘grammer now’, back then it was truly avant-garde. For reference: Instagram launched in 2010 and Indigo Pearl opened in 2008.

This is Fred follows a similar forward thinking attitude. The Slate x Fred was obviously inspired by the design of the hotel with its black and white stripes, monochromatism and structure, and thus pays homage to the property and its history. However, it also brings together a few key elements that could also be considered modernist in the fashion world: gender fluidity, durability, and versatility.

The Slate Fred Morrison Collaboration

It is a versatile, fluid, waistless and durable collection

It’s hard to think of streetwear as versatile or even timeless, but in practice we’ve found Fred’s items to work great regardless of gender, size, and occasion. As the world strives to reduce the boundaries of fashion, This is Fred admits it beautifully.

The collection includes pants, tops, ponchos and jackets, and comes in a black and white color scheme (with the signature black and white stripes found on almost every item). Where black and white are arguably the most timeless colors of all, they are equally loved by all genders and sizes. Plus, the items are made in the most sustainable way possible, yet they don’t have the often steep price tag that comes with other eco-friendly fashion items. Having said that, it’s also a sweet way to prove that an item doesn’t have to be overpriced to last a long time.

The Slate Fred Collaboration

It is also a collection with a personal touch

During a conversation with “Moo” Prakaikaew, we discovered that This is Fred is his own discovery. While walking through the trendy cat paradise of Shoreditch, London, she stumbled upon Fred’s store by pure chance. While chatting with the designer (and, we imagine, buying quite a few items), she invited Fred to visit her hotel in Phuket. A collaboration was never part of the invitation, but as the friendship and sudden inspirations would have wanted, The Slate x Fred saw the light of day.

That kind of harmony is a great way to look at the collection, as we honestly expected a hotel-inspired line to look more like resort wear. The Slate x Fred is not a resort outfit. It sits somewhere between wearable architecture (that’s one thing) and the moving character. It’s eclectic and dynamic, and an organic evolution from a harmony between friends, and from structure to fabric.

The Slate Fred Collaboration

What do Phuket and Shoreditch have in common?

Fred Morrison showcased his collections at Fashion Weeks in Berlin and Paris, working with big names like Rick Owens and Gareth Pugh before creating his own brand. Nonetheless, his pieces seem no less out of place from Shoreditch to Phuket. What do Phuket and Shoreditch have in common (beyond occasional heavy rains)?

The sartorial collaboration between The Slate and This is Fred is in fact part of the hotel’s unique stay experiences and its “Artist in Residence” program. Blending design, art and fashion, this program aims to showcase the authenticity of Phuket and the artistic journey that can be enjoyed here. It’s a bit of a hidden gem, much like a lot of events in Shoreditch itself.

The notion of a hidden gem also works well for the collection. None of The Slate x Fred’s pieces scream “logomania” or “branding”. They are nervous but also subtle. So, we imagine that the kind of person who enjoys this kind of treasure finding would also appreciate the hidden gem that is The Slate Phuket.

The storage room of the Slate Fred collaboration

Where to find The Slate x Fred

One of our favorite places in The Slate Phuket is The Gift Shop, better known as The Stockroom. Here, guests can purchase anything from in-room toiletries to breakfast glasses and even the freestanding tub that you can find on the terraces. This is also where you can buy the The Slate Phuket x Fred collection (as well as in line).

As design lovers, of course, selected items from the collection are also on display in the hotel’s Shades Gallery. Featuring an imposing centerpiece that hangs dramatically from the ceiling, it’s yet another sight that blurs the worlds between sense of place, sense of self, and sense of design.


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