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Bangkok Goth & kawaii fashion shops! Morph8ne clothing, drag queen mall, Thailand gay club Maggie Choo’s.

morph8ne clothing bangkok thailand fashion

Don’t be Cross with me… or you might get a stake through the heart!

It’s been a busy few months, and I’ve fallen behind on recapping my Asia travels. As I pray for your forgiveness, I’ll continue with our adventures in Thailand. 

morph8ne goth grunge street fashion label

If you’re looking for Gothic, alternative and experimental fashion in Bangkok, then this post has everything you’ll need. We’ll sashay into a drag queen mall, and work the stage at LGBT club Maggie Choo’s (with RuPaul’s Drag Race Thailand host, Pangina Heals!) 

goth bangkok thailand shop

While in Bangkok, I was delighted to connect with the team at Morph8ne Clothing. They are one of my favorite independent designers (from these spooky elegant photos, you can easily tell why).  

gothic stores shopping bangkok thailand

For a long time, I’ve been online friends with the Morph8ne girls, and loved wearing their clothing around the world. It was a devilish treat to finally met them in Bangkok, Thailand where they are based!

modeling gothic clothing thailand

They kindly invited Yukiro and me to visit their fashion studio (access is by private appointment only), and model their latest designs. 

morph8ne clothing designers

The all-women team is so sweet, and their personal style epitomized the brand. The founder (second from right) is named Morphine, hence the name of the label. The ladies work together on the design and production.

occult witch bangkok thailand

Morph8ne’s design studio is decorated with elegant Gothic flourishes. The walls are adorned with antique portraits, crosses, and haunting artwork. 

outcast street style store bangkok

This rack showed their latest collection at the time: we couldn’t get enough of the purple garments! Morph8ne uniquely combines influences from Japanese Gothic Lolita, grunge, 90s, and pastel Goth — a delectable witches’ brew. 

thailand spooky haunted gothic

I loved seeing Morphine’s creative process at her studio, including mood boards for upcoming wardrobes (which I can’t show you!) Their dark dolly clothing is always made ethically, and in small batches. 

You can browse and purchase designs through Morph8ne’s website — they ship worldwide. They’re also stocked by some Asia boutiques, like Never Mind the Xu in Tokyo, and Outcast street style store in Bangkok.

goth shops stores bangkok

This studio is not open to the public, so I’m grateful that the Morph8ne girls let us take a look behind the scenes. We were captivated by Morphine’s collection of horror oddities, displayed in a glass case at the entrance.

gollum toy collection figurines

Living Dead dolls, skulls, crucifixes… and Gollum.

antique book purse spell book bag

How lovely is this purple-edged Spell Book purse, featuring their heart and cross logo? 

morph8ne goth grunge dress

Next, we got to play dress-up and take photos. I’m wearing a Bad Mood dress, featuring red ribbon tie straps and the adorably emo heart character. 

purple faux fur jacket pants

Yukiro went for an ultraviolet look. Morph8ne uses textures fabulously, from faux fur to sheer panels and accent patches. 

giant cross crucifix vampire goth girl

Cheeky ruffled heart patches on the back of my red Madly miniskirt… they double as pockets.

morph8ne heart pants bad mood

Bringing on the darkness, with a crop top (check out the trailing ribbon sleeve detailing) and one-of-a-kind heart cut out pants. 

morphine stores studio thailand goth

If you like what you see, you can find these Gothic-girly fashions on Morph8ne’s web store. The prices are incredibly reasonable for the high quality and originality of the pieces, and we encourage you to support these lovely ladies. 

bangkok thailand goths alternative punk

To quote their latest collection: “Sisterhood is forever whether you like it or not.” 

Thank you Morph8ne for opening your dark hearts to us! 

maggie choo's gay nightclub bangkok

We encountered more fab fashion… at the most decadent gay and drag club in Bangkok, Maggie Choo’s. When you step in, you’ll be greeted by muscled, shirtless men in turbans swinging from the rafters. 

The nightclub looks like an opium den with 19th century style lamps, velvet curtains, and Grecian marble bust statues. The venue holds a variety of live performances and dance parties. However, we came for Maggie Choo’s famous Sunday night drag queen party. 

pangina heals, thailand rupaul drag race host

Every Sunday, you can see the best Thai drag queens strut the stage, and entertain the crowd with sassy banter. The drag show is hosted in both English and Thai by the vivacious Pangina Heals, the host of “RuPaul’s Drag Race Thailand” TV show. 

drag performers ladyboys bangkok

Thailand is known for its next-level drag queens — and at Maggie Choo’s, the performers truly brought it. The fashion and lip-synching were top class; Yukiro was surprised when this Gothic queen performed an obscure track, Malena Ernman’s Tragedy song. which he also uses in his shows. 

“Here comes the tragedy, The sound of agony, The tears you love to cry, The pain that wants no remedy…”

thailand drag queen shows performances

We’ll never forget this rousing rendition of Sia’s “Titanium.” This queen wrapped herself in a plastic tube, which protected her from objects that others threw at her… talk about symbolism at its funniest!

pangina heals thai drag queen, maggie choo's club

Pangina Heals performed with powerful energy and charm, demonstrating why she’s the host of the Thailand RuPaul’s Drag Race TV show. Between sets, she entertains the crowd with banter. If you can name the disco tune that the DJ plays, Pangina will invite you onstage to do a shot with her.

On a Sunday night, Maggie Choo’s is the LGBT club to be in Bangkok.  

lgbt clubs bangkok thailand

Where do Bangkok’s showgirls and drag performers get their wild wardrobes? The secret spot is Watergate Mall, which looks like a small and unimpressive shopping center. 

watergate mall bangkok thailand

However, when you walk inside, you’ll be bombarded by feathers and glitter! Nicknamed the “drag mall,” Watergate Bangkok has several floors of small shops, filled with flamboyant creations by locals.

drag queen dresses bangkok
Be sure to visit Hutcha, a talented Bangkok designer. Admire his mannequins, who are dressed in mermaid dresses with gauzy ruffs. (Not sure how you’d get through the doorway, in some of these ballgowns!)

costumes showgirls clothing bangkok

Hutcha can also custom-make a garment in any style you please (how about a space pirate suit?) 

bangkok headdresses thai shopping

Walk around Watergate Mall, and you’ll find all sorts of showy garments. Admire the traditional Thai theater costumes, or shop for holographic jumpsuits.

gold thai headpieces crowns

You’ll be overwhelmed by the options for glitzing up your wardrobe. Bargaining is welcome, at accessories and headdresses stores like this one. 

goth queen skull crown

Watergate Mall is an excellent place to find costume jewelry, and experimental pieces such as headpieces covered in spikes. Or how about this crown decorated with a skull and cobwebs? 

drag queen dresses bangkok

The prices vary widely. Yukiro got this purple dressing gown with trailing sleeves for a steal. Other items, such as this glittery military gown, can be $1000+.

thailand crazy accessories hats

Those giant earrings look like they’d be a pain to wear… but that’s the price of fab fashion, isn’t it? 

siam discovery mall interior design

For fashion that’s less “out-there” but till outstanding, I recommend heading to Siam Paragon and Siam Discovery malls. This is my favorite spot to see Thai indie clothing all in one place. 

ecotopia eco fashion boutiques bangkok

Ascend to the upper levels and wander through Ecotopia. This department is all about ethical and eco-friendly goods. I eyed the organic cotton dresses and home products, and took home a few packets of local herbal curry. 

little twin stars scarves

Cross over to Siam Center, and you’ll be confronted by a variety of cute, hip fashion geared towards younger shoppers. 

hello kitty scarf, bangkok shop

This scarf store had a collaboration with Sanrio. There’s a limited edition “sawasdee” Hello Kitty shawl, as well as some featuring Little Twin Stars and Moomin. 

jelly bunny shoe bags store thailand

Those who love playful fashion will adore Jelly Bunny, a local line of kitschy shoes and purses. When you walk in, you’ll be welcomed by a large, sparkling pastel-pink rabbit statue. 

space rocket astronaut purses bags

Jelly Bunny has a huge range of “jelly” shoes, the malleable style that was big in the 90s. I was tempted to get one of their space-inspired holographic purses, shaped like astronauts or sleepy crescent moons. 

flynow eccentric fashion bangkok

Don’t miss out on the psychedelic Flynow store, also in Siam Center. You’ll run into colorful lions and bears dressed in the funky designer’s clothing.  

thailand weird experimental clothing fly now

Flynow’s designs stand out for being high-end – the brand presents at Bangkok Fashion Week – yet playful, with a pop-culture bent. The experimental garments include rainbow dresses, and bedazzled jeans with cartoon character faces. 

pink pvssy accessories store thailand

We also enjoyed roaming through Pink Pvssy, a quirky accessories store with multiple locations. Pink Pvssy carries every accessory you can imagine, from giant bead necklaces to 3D lion’s-head backpacks. You can even pick up a human-sized inflatable alien!

bloody bunny thailand rabbit

Finally, we popped into Bloody Bunny and Friends cafe. This Thai mascot is a mix between cute and frightening: note the bloodshot eyes, bent stitched ear and knife. 

cute characters theme cafe bangkok

Bloody Bunny’s friends are similarly spooky-cute. Get to know a growling, frowning bear (Serious Kuma) and a raven dressed like a plague doctor. This is a great place to pick up adorable themed goods, such as notebooks and toys. 

bloody bunny themed cafe

Then, head to the Bloody Bunny theme cafe. You can sip a red slushy, or munch on snacks served in bowls with his evil eyes.

touring bird tours activities travel tips writing

I hope you found these dark and alternative Bangkok tips helpful — or at least, frightful!

I also wrote about many of these places for Touring Bird, the new Google Area120 travel tips site. You can find all my Touring Bird tips for Bangkok here, as well as my underground guides for other cities worldwide.

(If you’re heading to Thailand, I contributed Touring Bird tips for Hua Hin, Krabi, and Ko Samui — plus many other major destinations in Asia. Thanks for checking out my writing on Google’s new travel website!)

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Our crazy Japan travel TV show filming! Duell um die Welt, host Steven Gatjen in Tokyo, Joko und Klaas, Department H.

Das Duell um die Welt tokyo steven gatjen

Uhh you may have recently seen La Carmina on German TV, with a giant peen… Ach du lieber!

Finally, we can reveal details of the crazy Japanese travel TV show we shot in September. As you may know, Naomi Rubin and I run a Pirates production company. We do local producing or “fixing” for travel television shows, in Tokyo and worldwide.

The Pirates have teamed up before with Joko und Klaas, the prime-time challenge show airing on Pro Sieben Germany. This time, “Das Duell um die Welt” (Duel around the World) featured celebrity guests… so we took presenter Steven Gätjen on a wild ride through Tokyo’s fetish underground!

Steven Gätjen, joko und klaas prosieben

It was fabulous to be on-camera again for Joko and Klaas’ program. As you’ll see, I delivered Steven Gätjen’s challenge, forced him to dress up in a pink studded suit, and introduced him to his bizarre band-members.

Keep reading to see the behind-the-scenes story of how we turned Steven into Ralf Acapulco, the schlager-industrial superstar singer… culminating in a hilarious performance at Department H, the alternative / S&M / latex / anything-goes party that remain the wildest in Tokyo.

❤ Wanna watch? I can’t post the full episode, but here are clips above and on Vimeo. ❤

tokio japan Das Duell um die Welt

Naomi and I love working with the Joko gegen Klaas team, as they’re always keen to do something crazy for the TV show. The production process is a long one: we throw around ideas for the challenge, and then build a story and locations around it.

As fixers, the Pirates make the local arrangements in Japanese including securing permits and locations, casting extras, arranging costume and makeup, hiring a van driver, securing hotels, and any other logistics for a successful shoot.

(You may recall that we gave Klaas a bagelhead, and sewed Joko’s lips together for this show! We also worked with Palina Rojinski on a ProSieben travel shoot in Hong Kong, and Olli Schulz in a Box in Tokyo.)

hagemashi rental family japan

Steven’s adventure began in a Zen-like fashion. He sat down to a matcha tea ceremony, in a traditional tatami room that we rented.

The four people in kimono are extras that we hired… from the Japanese “rent a family” company! (Yes, you can hire someone to pretend to be your relative or significant other.) We previously rented the same lady to play a fake mother in Olli’s TV show.

illustration watercolor japanese tea ceremony

Naomi Rubin is an amazing Japanese-English translator who makes the shoot possible by communicating the director’s words to the cast. She is also a talented illustrator, and created the elegant watercolor above based on the tea house scene.

In this scene, Steven received a mysterious card with an address. This led him to the next location…

la carmina travel tv hosting german television

… A karaoke room, where wacky individuals were waiting for his arrival! 

Steven Gätjen is lovely in person, with a gracious and positive attitude. We worked off a script, but had a good time ad-libbing during our scenes.

(My earrings are Alex Streeter, and dress House of Holland.)

japanese monster costume becos picopico

Say hello to PicoPico. He makes astonishing full body costumes of monsters and strange creatures. We hired him to be on the show, wearing his original green Becos costume.

karaoke kan dolphin weird rooms

While we waited for our scene, Pico Pico and I did karaoke… why not, we were in Karaoke Kan Shibuya after all!

What’s the deal with the blacklight space dolphins on the walls of the karaoke booth? Again… why not! (When you choose a song and it begins, the room lights up with a disco ball and neon lights.)

power rangers japanese karaoke

Pico Pico selected a Power Rangers tune to belt out. Love the spaceship background of the karaoke video.

karaoke singing weird tokyo japan

Yours truly stuck to disco. We did a YMCA duet, of course with the appropriate hand motions!

(If the monster costume looks familiar, it’s because he was also in the French travel TV show I did years back, with Antoine de Caunes for Canal Plus.)

giant penis costume halloween peen

And then, a giant penis arrived… Welcome, Mr Peen! He was so big that he could hardly fit through the doors, no joke.

This phallic character, known as Gachachin, often pops up at Department H and once appeared at Kanamara Matsuri, the Penis Festival in Japan. The old costume got a bit… rotten… so the creator whipped up a fresh and bigger one in just three days.

craziest japan halloween costumes

As you can see, it takes two men to deal with the massive Mr Peen! When Sasano is inside, he can shuffle around and go turgid or flaccid. Check out the vein-y detailing on the foam body, and the arm appendage.

karaoke kan lost in tranlation singing booth room

PicoPico also got inside his suit (he can see out of the mesh mouth area).

Naomi arranged for us to shoot in at Karaoke Kan Shibuya, in the exact same glass booth featured in the Lost in Translation movie by Sofia Coppola.

lost in translation rent karaoke booth

Here’s a screenshot from the scene we shot together. I introduced myself as Steven Gaetjen’s challenge-meister for Tokyo.

I’m sitting in the same place as Scarlett Johansson in the film, but unlike her pink wig, my hair color is real. (My cape is by Pheren Couture)

japan penis festival costumes gachachin

I presented Steven with his Tokyo challenge. He had to sing live on stage, at a wild party with hundreds of people watching… with Picopico and Mr Peen as his band members!

Steven Gätjen hosting tv host presenter

Steven Gaetjen had to perform a song that mixed schlager (cheesy, upbeat German music) with industrial (Rammstein-esque headbanging). He had to dress the part, hence this pink-studded costume that I declared was “so fash.”

To add insult to injury, I made Steven take part in a nonsensical interview with a Japanese news crew. Our friends Miki, Ken and Yugo did a fantastic job acting as the host and camera crew for this segment.

wacky japan costumes tv travel

We hired makeup and hair artist Tomomi Tokuda to give Steven this edgy look. She nailed it, and was a pleasure to work with.

akihabara tokyo bizarre anime

Travel TV shows always need a ton of B-roll footage, so we headed to Akihabara to do a montage of Steven and the monster. PicoPico couldn’t be there for that scene… so someone else literally stepped into his big shoes!

Joko gegen Klaas tokio duell

Akiba, the otaku and anime “electric town,” made the perfect setting for these funny scenes. Above, the monster insists on taking a selfie with Steven, who is not amused.

tokyo tv fixing filming producers

Strolling through Tokyo, dressed ridiculous and shooting a TV show… just a typical day in the life of La Carmina and the Pirates.

department h party kinema club

Finally, Steven arrived at the most insane party in Tokyo, if not the universe: Department H. (Keep scrolling for photos, and you’ll see why.)

Organizer and mistress of ceremonies, Gogh, generously let us film here many times.

tokyo japan television production

The Dept H party starts at midnight, and takes place the first Saturday of each month. However, the crew got here early to set up and rehearse the performance.

We put up a poster featuring Steven’s flamboyant alter ego, Ralf Acapulco, who would be performing “Sushi of Love” live on stage.

penis festival Kanamara matsuri

“Itai, itai… painful!” Looks like Mr Peen is made to be a drummer. He even has a hole for his drum stick!

Steven Gätjen singing schlager industrial

Time to rehearse, with the instruments that we rented. I can’t stop laughing every time I see Mr Peen banging on the cymbals.

piercing cheeks together body mods

As you can see in the video clips, I took Steven to meet his keyboard players. These three are the Gokiburi crew… and they shocked him by sticking a long skewer through their cheeks, like a human shish kebab.

tokyo extreme body modifications piercings

No Photoshop here. These regular-looking folk gleefully stuck a long metal needle through their jowls, connecting themselves together. Gotta love the creativity of Japanese body modifications.

japan tv movie fixing producing company

Naomi shows them how to choreograph their headbanging and hand gestures during the live performance. (In this rehearsal photo, they aren’t yet human-centipeded together.)

japanese penis festival floats statues

Looks like somebody is happy to see me. P size wa?!

drag queen show tokyo japan

Department H takes place at Uguisidani’s Kinema Club. The regular club night has been raging since the 1990s, and is still going strong. The event includes a drag queen show…

dept h uguisidani party

… and weird, racy performances such as this monster wrestling match.

hajime kinoki shibari rope tying bondage ロープアーティスト

Hajime Kinoko, shibari artist, tied up a victim on stage with rope. The person’s hair was then dipped in ink, and used to paint calligraphy on a scroll.

piercing people together cheeks

And then, “Ralf Acapulco” took the stage! The contrast between the bright schlager and scream-and-groan Industrial rock made for a hilarious performance.

(Watch some clips from the TV show below, as well as extras on my Instagram video.)

Danke everyone for watching me on Joko und Klaas: Duell um die Welt, Tokyo episode! Take a moment to see what we got up to in the video. I hope our surreal monster dance makes you laugh.

anime kigurumi dollers

I’ll leave you with mind-bending photos from Department H nightclub. The partygoers wear the most bizarre outfits you’ll see on the galaxy. At Dept H, you can be whoever you want to be — whether it’s a one-eyed dolly, or a green haired lady of the night.

full body anime costumes head mask

You’ll see a lot of anime kigurumi, or dollers, at Department H. Typically handmade, these are full-body suits that include giant masks with big eyes. The effect is a bit cute, a bit creepy… a real-life anime or manga character come to life in three dimensions.

(Click below to see more photos.)

More here!